Canadian Food Inspection Agency Grant

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is looking for a field-deployable or handheld device that detects food borne pathogens. The use of field-deployable devices that can reduce risk in the production of safe and sustainable foods by detecting food borne pathogens in several aspects of farm-to-fork continuum.

Challenge sponsor: Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)
Funding mechanism: Grant
Opening date: June 25, 2020
Closing date: July 28, 2020, 14:00 Eastern Daylight Time

Think you can solve this challenge? Compete for funding to prove your feasibility and develop a solution!

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Challenge Details

Food BorneThe CFIA is mandated to protect the health of Canadians by safeguarding food safety in the farm-to-fork continuum, including the protection of animal and plant health. While the CFIA is the regulatory body that enforces acts and regulations aimed at reducing the risks of food borne diseases, the food producers and processors are ultimately responsible for the safety of their products. Canadian producers employ the latest food safety programs and technologies available in reducing the risks or food borne pathogens; however, contaminated food continues to reach the Canadian public despite all the efforts by industry and the CFIA. This results in a number of recalls and outbreaks that cost the health care system and producers millions of dollars each year. Further, the Government of Canada estimates that there are about 4 million cases of food borne illness in Canada every year, leading to 11,500 hospitalizations and 240 deaths.

To evaluate the safety of food products analysts are required to conduct extensive testing that often take days to obtain a final test result. Having field deployable, rapid, sensitive, and specific testing methodologies would enable industry stakeholders to better protect Canadians, provide a safe food supply, and meet international standards for exports. With such devices, the food industry can increase the number of pathogen tests and can better prevent the presence of contaminated products from reaching the market place.

Essential (mandatory) outcomes -the solution must:

  • Detect food borne pathogenic bacteria from samples taken from food production and processing facilities, as well as food products that require minimal processing such as leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Develop a robust field-deployable diagnostic tool that would be deployable in processing and production settings without the need for supporting equipment (i.e. incubators, centrifuges) and a fully functional laboratory with a minimum training.
  • Detect at a minimum of one of the following bacteria: Salmonella sp., Listeria monocytogenes and Verotoxigenic E. coli including O157:H7 in leafy greens such as lettuce or spinach.
  • Be commercially available (available for sale in Canada) for implementation into production and processing environments for use by industry including food producers/processors and farmers.
  • Be validated in accordance to validation criteria outlined in the Canadian Compendium of Analytical Methods CAM (Volume 1, Part 4) and must meet all performance parameters outlined in the validation protocol. In summary, the following parameters must be met as outlined in Part 4:
  • Inclusivity and exclusivity studies
  • Sensitivity ≥98%
  • Specificity ≥90.4%
  • False negative rate <2%
  • False positive rate ≤9.6%
  • Efficacy ≥94%
  • Level of detection of the alternative method must be comparable to or exceed the lower limit of detection of the reference method
  • Have robust temperature conditions for storage (4° and 30°C)
  • Require minimum sample preparation or sample preparation that can be performed “in field” during the testing period.
  • Not be cost prohibitive for the intended end users.

The solution should:

Target multiple food borne pathogens from the above list in leafy greens.

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