VITAL: Validation of Innovative Tools to Assess and to improve microbioLogical safety in the food chain
Conventional microbiological testing takes time to get results. This impacts the supply chain, causing delays to get to market whilst results come back on finished but not shipped goods.
Rapid methods solve this problem, but they need to be proven to work as well as the standard microbiological methods that they replace. Proving these rapid methods work just as well, requires them to be tested in multiple food matrices. This is time-consuming, expensive and slows down adoption. AI can solve this problem. An algorithm comparing historical standard microbiological tests against the rapid method tests will be created and this will allow food companies to radically reduce the number of verifying tests they will need to do, to ensure the rapid method works in their food matrix of interest. Salmonella spp. will be targeted because it is poses a severe threat to multiple food products. In the following phase, we will compare the recommended test plan from the AI to a real-life ISO verification for 2 new products, done in the lab first and then in a food factory.