New food safety device from Cardiff University

Scientists at Cardiff University have developed a food safety device based on the chemical reaction that causes fireflies to light up.

The flies use a chemical reaction known as bioluminescence to emit light in order to attract a mate. The device uses the same chemical reaction in the device in order to detect certain bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Food samples are placed inside BART (Bioluminescent Assay in Real-Time), as the device has been called, where the presence of bacteria triggers the production of light.

The device can be used to detect salmonella, E. coli and listeria, which can all cause serious health problems in humans and can provide results in less than an hour.

Developments such as these will provide effective ways to improve food safety and prevent contaminated products from entering the food chain. Food hygiene procedures retain an important role in reducing the risks of food poisoning outbreaks.

Implementing and maintaining such procedures, as well as ensuring that all employees receive adequate food safety training, can minimise the risks of contamination and the spread of infection.