New regulations and public demand for safe food are increasing pathogen testing by food producers, according to “Food Micro, Fifth Edition: Microbiology Testing in the U.S. Food Industry”— a new market research report from Strategic Consulting Inc. Thomas Weschler, President and report author, says that while the food safety testing market has shown solid growth in the last decade, recent concerns about contaminants such as E. coli 0157 and Salmonella have driven 18% average growth in the pathogen testing market for the past three years.
The new report tracks changes to microbiology testing practices in the U.S. food industry as it strives to produce safe and wholesome foods in an increasingly global market. Here are some of the findings:
- In 2010, 213.2 million microbiology tests were collected in the U.S. food processing industry, a 14.4% increase since 2008.
- U.S. food producers routinely conduct microbiology testing of raw materials, the food production plant, and finished food products to look for indicators of microorganisms in the food and/or processing facility. The volume of these routine/indicator tests went up by just over 10% between 2008 and 2010. During that same three-year period, however, the volume of tests looking for specific pathogens such as Salmonella, Listeria, Campylobacter, and E. coli O157 increased by more than 30%.
“While food companies continue to make investments in their overall food safety programs, new regulations, outbreaks, and public concern drive even more pathogen-specific testing,” said Weschler. “Pathogens are everyone’s focus.” As a result, Weschler says, new diagnostic technologies and new players are entering the market, and the business landscape continues to change through acquisitions, partnerships, and new product offerings.