Yarok announces innovative solution for fast identification of E.coli and Listeria before product delivery
The system identifies clearly low levels of E.coli or Listeria in fresh produce within 45 minutes
08 August, 2016 - (TEL AVIV, Israel) - Yarok Technology Transfer Ltd. today announced the end of the first stage of development of an innovative system for fast microbial testing, addressed specifically to the Fruits and Vegetables industry. The system can clearly identify the presence of E.coli or Listeria within 40-45 minutes, providing a “presence zero” result in 6 hours, for E.coli, or in 9 hours for Listeria.
The system provides an innovative solution to a major problem in the fresh food industry: the long amount of time required by today’s testing systems in order to correctly identify dangerous bacteria before fresh product is delivered for distribution. These relatively slow time-to-results are dangerous for consumers and, for the industry, are a worldwide cause for expensive product recalls and lawsuits.
“At the end of over a year and a half of work, we completed the Development Stage 1 of the first two modules aimed at vegetables. We are now in the final phase before shipping the first system specifically dedicated to the Fresh Fruit & Vegetables Industry”, said Dr. Vladimir Glukhman, Yarok’s CSO, on whose IP the innovative testing system is based.
“After the installation of a first fast testing system in a major dairy in Israel, we focused on fresh vegetables, as this sector is particularly exposed to the risks of dangerous pathogens. Today, in produce like rocket or lettuce, for example, we are able to indicate the absence of E.coli within only 6 hours and in about 9 hours in the case of Listeria. One of the most interesting features of our system however, is the capability of providing progressive clear results within less than an hour. In fact, a level of 1000 CFU of E.coli − that is a very low level − can be individuated within 40-45 minutes”.
Installation of the first system is planned for the end of September 2016 in Italy, at the labs of Agronomia Group, a major producer of fresh-cut salads. By supporting the system development, Agronomia received regional exclusivity for the system aimed at fresh vegetables.
The system requires the use of a System-Kit targeted to small laboratories at production facilities or to those labs serving distribution centers and large retail chains. The innovative testing methodology is based on the use of proprietary reagents and on an analytical software. It utilizes off-the-shelf equipment and tools, of the sort typically found in labs for the food industry.
“When we decided to upgrade our internal microbiological control system, we looked to Israel, as we have done in the past for other innovative solutions that we’ve adopted for our agro-industrial production”, said Jonathan Sierra, in charge for R&D at Agronomia Group.
“Our support for this project was predicated on our receiving regional exclusive license, and our requirement that Yarok will enable us to have testing responses within the timeframe of a production shift, before delivery of our products. The results have definitely exceeded our expectations; therefore we are now contracting with Yarok for development of a third testing module, for fast identification of Salmonella, together with a module for environmental swab tests for our production facilities. This innovative solution is an additional competitive advantage for the Agronomia Group, for our clients, and for consumer safety”.
Founded in 2011, Yarok Technology Transfer Ltd. is dedicated to bringing Israeli innovation to the Food and the Agriculture industries. The company provides also international training services, as well as international HR recruitment, with a special focus on the above areas. In 2014, following requests by clients for fast testing solutions aimed at the fresh food industry, Yarok entered the microbiological testing arena. Yarok is based in Jerusalem, Israel with laboratory facilities near Tel Aviv.