Our Testing and Solutions
It is estimated that approximately four million episodes of domestically acquired foodborne illness occur every year in Canada with some of them leading to hospitalizations and even death. The major fraction of the foodborne outbreaks is attributed to bacterial and viral agents. Among them the most frequently reported agents include Salmonella, Escherichia and Norovirus. Hence, finished product testing for different parameters is done by food processors for verification of their implemented food safety management systems.
Our Testing and Solutions experts make use of innovative analytical approaches developed in response to the emerging food safety issues. Through research and use of officially approved methods to monitor known issues, our teamwork promises higher sensitivity for detection of difficult-to-detect contaminants, detection of contaminants in new matrix classes and faster turnaround times for results by considering the face of changing regulations, more rigorous method-validation standards and consumer demands for safe, quality products. We ensure to maintain the trust of the industry and the consumers by helping create a safer food supply.
The Food microbiological testing lab at Pathogenia Inc. utilizes high performance automated solution for the detection and identification of a wide range of foodborne pathogens to ensure the quality and safety of the tested food products tailored to our customers demand. Microbiological testing can be performed on any food matrix including raw ingredient samples which will be used for further processing as well as finished products. Upon discussion arrangement of convenient and secure pickup of your samples could be scheduled.
Detection and identification of common foodborne pathogens is employed using VIDAS® which uses protocols created using the cutting-edge recombinant phage protein technology with results released in less than 48 hours for most of the pathogens including their time for incubation.
Pathogens tested include:
- Listeria species
- Listeria monocytogenes
- Escherichia coli 0157:H7
- Escherichia STEC including O157
ISO/AOAC Validated confirmation of food pathogens after VIDAS® detection is also performed using high performance chromogenic media with high selectivity and specificity for the pathogens.
Culture media used: ALOA
Test microorganism: Listeria monocytogenes and Listeria species
Indicator microorganisms which reflect the microbiological quality of foods relative to product shelf life or their safety from foodborne pathogens or in other words indicators used to assess food sanitation are enumerated using TEMPO® system. This system evaluates the number of CFU/g of indicator microorganism of interest in the initial product and delivers rapid results to customers for earlier product release.
Indicator microorganisms tested include:
- Aerobic count
- Coliform count
- Bacillus cereus
- Lactic acid bacteria
- Staphylococcus aureus
3M™ Petrifilm™ is further used for confirmation of different quality indicators detected in the tested food samples. We also perform routine swab tests to guarantee the safety and hygiene of the production environment of our customers.
- Listeria species
- Coliforms count
Availability of clean Air and Water – two out of the five basic elements of nature contribute to better health, greater enjoyment of life, more productive communities and a stronger economy. Contamination of air and water impacts harm to human health as well as crops ultimately resulting in higher costs for medical care, raw materials, food and public services.
Canada has an abundance of water for its size with seven percent of the world’s renewable freshwater supply. However, the freshwater systems are not always pure since it tends to pick up bits and pieces of anything and everything it comes into contact with such as minerals, silt, vegetation, fertilizers and agricultural run-off.
Coliform organisms have long been recognized as a suitable microbial indicator of drinking water quality. At Pathogenia, we use the membrane filtration method for the isolation of indicator organisms like coliforms from water. Membrane filters have a known uniform porosity of predetermined size sufficiently small to trap microorganisms. This technique is an effective technique which provides quicker, quantitative results in less than 18 hours of even large sample volumes.
Microorganisms tested include:
Air acts as a vector for the distribution of contaminates and can pose a serious concern to food contamination and the food-contact surfaces themselves. This is because everything in the air will eventually land on contact surfaces or the food itself.
3M™ Petrifilm™ plates for air quality testing are used for direct contact or swab contact monitoring procedures as well as air sampling procedures.
Viruses such as Norovirus which account for 65% foodborne illnesses, 30% foodborne hospitalizations and 33% of foodborne deaths in Canada are of rising concern among the various food industries. Pathogenia is acclaimed to be the first Canadian laboratory to receive ISO accreditation (ISO/IEC 17025:2017) in food virology services. Concentration, Extraction and Qualitative Detection and Identification of foodborne virus is performed using Real-Time PCR method with the capability to analyze more than 100 samples per week. We employ a reliable, reproducible and statistically valid sampling model with confidence level ranging between 90% and 99%. All testing methods are internally developed based on FDA standards which provide a solid framework that can be adapted to food industry.
Foodborne viruses tested include:
- Hepatitis A
- Norovirus GI
- Norovirus GII
Pesticides play an important role in making sure there is enough food for everyone by protecting food and crops from pests (insects, weeds and fungal diseases). There are more than 1000 pesticides used around the world which has different properties and toxicological effects. Since they are intrinsically toxic and deliberately spread in the environment, regular monitoring of residues in food is required to help keep them within the limits and thus ensuring a safe food supply.
Professionally trained and skilled personnel’s at Pathogenia employ QuEChERS extraction followed by Chromatographic techniques like Gas Chromatography (GC) and Liquid Chromatography (LC) for the quantitative analysis of compounds with very similar chemical structure in food products with different matrices. Both the GC and LC are coupled with Mass Spectrometric (MS) detector which has the ability to identify compounds on the basis of molecular ions and unique fragmentation patterns. With diverse separation parameters both GC and LC facilitate and substantiate the analysis of target compounds present even in complicated accompanying matrices.
Mycotoxins are toxic natural secondary metabolites produced by several species of fungi on natural commodities in the field or during storage. They also possess varying degrees of toxicity, are chemically stable and cannot be destroyed during food processing or heat treatment. At Pathogenia, we are engaged in the detection of these challenging mycotoxins using LC-MS/MS with different sample preparation approaches including solid-liquid extraction, liquid-liquid extraction, QuEChERS etc.
Test performed include:
- Pesticide Residue Screening and Quantitative Analysis by LC-MS/MS
- Pesticide Residue Screening and Quantitative Analysis by GC-MS/MS
- Quantitative analysis of Mycotoxins by LC-MS/MS