How are agri-food companies managing the Covid-19 pandemic?

Date: 29.12.2020Source: SwissDeCode



The BEAMitup project, funded by the European consortium EIT Food, has launched a survey to collect the experiences and needs of agri-food companies, identify best practices and develop new solutions that allow the sector to work safely during and after the pandemic.

One of the greatest challenges of the pandemic, originating from SARS-CoV-2 virus, is to guarantee the safety of workplaces, especially in the agri-food sector, avoiding that outbreaks lead to business disruption and, for some, even the active spread of the virus through raw materials or finished products, such as for frozen foods or meats. The issue is important not only in terms of public health risk, but also from a trade balance perspective, with several cases of Coronavirus contamination found on food packaging and surfaces.

BEAMitup, a joint project between SwissDeCode (CH), Microbion (IT), IATA CSIC (ES) and the University of Helsinki (FI), was launched with the aim to monitor the practices adopted by companies to ensure a rapid identification and management of outbreaks, and resilience after their containment. Moreover, by developing new detection tools, the project will help companies to quickly and efficiently detect contamination on working surfaces, raw materials and finished products, from SARS-CoV-2 and other microorganisms that could threaten food safety and business operations.

Companies in the agri-food sector wishing to participate in the survey can do so here: https://linktr.ee/beamitup

Survey participants may choose to receive first-hand updates on the project and other exclusive rewards.

The survey will help in developing the new rapid testing device, giving insight on the needs of the industry.

The device, currently under development, works with wet swab or liquid culture matrices, and it is already able to complete a full analysis in 1 hour, with very short hands-on time. As next steps, the team is developing new validation tools for cleaning procedures, to be coupled with the detection device, which will have a testing time improved to just 35-40 minutes. The final version is expected to be ready in early 2021.


The partners

SwissDeCode (CH): SwissDeCode, member of EIT Food “RisingFoodStars”, is at the forefront of food authentication, compliance and safety, offering a variety of rapid, on-site DNA detection solutions to help boost confidence in the entire food supply chain. www.swissdecode.com

Microbion (IT): Microbion, member of EIT Food “RisingFoodStars”, is a partner of choice in molecular microbiology providing cutting-edge services to the agri-food and pharmaceutical industry to unravel all the potential of microbiology to boost safety and quality through innovation. www.microbion.it

IATA CSIC (ES): The Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA), created in 1966, is a center of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). Its scientific-technical objective is to carry out research of excellence on the production of sustainable and quality food, taking into account its safety, health impact and consumer acceptance. www.iata.csic.es

University of Helsinki (FI): The University of Helsinki is an innovative centre of science and thinking and one of the best multidisciplinary universities in the world. A number of research projects concerning the COVID-19 disease are ongoing at the University. www.helsinki.fi


Roland Sossna / IDM

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