Pork is the most produced, consumed and exported meat in Europe, with an annual production of over 21 million tonnes. However, pork is associated with several common human pathogens, such as salmonella, Yersinia, listeria, Escherichia coli and the campylobacter bacteria. The EU-funded project PASSPORK (A multi-pathogen pre-screening tool for safer pork products) aimed to develop a rapid and affordable tool to detect these pathogens and improve quality control in the pork industry. The device will use antibodies with fluorescent labels to easily and quickly detect even low-level bacterial infections. PASSPORK completed a market survey to understand the needs of the industry. The gathered information was then used to create the specifications for the system. Various sampling and testing methods were compared and selected, and a prototype sampling kit has been developed for use with the PASSPORK device. The project tested a number of commercially available antibodies and chose the best for each pathogen. The mechanical, electronic and optical systems were designed and tested individually in the laboratory. PASSPORK then combined these systems into a working prototype detection device. This prototype was modified to improve its performance based on further testing in the field. The completed PASSPORK detection device will help to decrease costs of compliance for the pork industry. In the long run it will also indirectly contribute to the improved health of society in general.
Pork, pathogens, bacteria, PASSPORK, antibodies