Food can be unsafe at various levels from ‘farm to plate’. Unsafe food can lead to various health problems like diarrheal diseases, viral diseases, reproductive and developmental problems, and even cancers.
Foodborne pathogens are infectious agents like bacteria (and its toxins), fungi, viruses and parasites, which are globally responsible for the contamination of foods. Foodborne pathogens have been one of the leading causes of infectious diseases and have taken many lives around the world.
Importantly, as per the World Health Organization (WHO), around 2 million people around the globe are killed annually due to food and water borne diseases. Although data on foodborne infections from India is lacking, the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP), Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India, reports that there were 306 disease outbreaks due to food contamination in 2014 alone.
Moreover, the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC), under the aegis of the MoHFW, is currently running a surveillance programme to detect foodborne diseases on a pilot basis in two districts each in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat since October 2013.
The evolution of new breeds of pathogens has given rise to research in this area and the food safety bodies have made tough regulations to check and control the dangers posed by foodborne pathogens. Foodborne pathogens can cause diseases like diarrhea, food-poisoning and others.
The recent studies in the fields of Microbiology and Molecular Biology have found some new strains of pathogens creating trouble around the globe by spreading infection and taking shape of epidemics. Foodborne pathogens can lead to fatal infections in pregnant women and children. The world today is bearing a loss in billions of dollars every year arising from food spoilage.
Some of the foodborne pathogens include Escherichia coli (enterotoxigenic strain), Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella enteritidis, Salmonella typhi, Shigella spp., Staphylococcus aureus, Vibrio cholera, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Vibrio vulnificus, Yersinia enterocolitica, Campylobacter jejuni, Clostridium botulinum, Clostridium perfringens, Clostridium difficile, Toxoplasma gondii, Bacillus cereus, yeasts, molds, hepatitis A virus and norovirus.
The majority of pathogens are present in animals but they can spill over to humans due to unsafe food-handling practices. Some of the major types of food items that are prone to spoilage include all perishable items, including milk, cheese and other dairy products, fruits, vegetables, bread, cold chicken sandwiches and burgers, water and ice, eating raw or undercooked food, pork and other raw meats, fish, seafood including shellfish and oysters, and many more.
The Food Business Operators (FBO) have to ensure that every food item should be tested for the possible contaminants before the product reaches the consumer.
Our testing services are backed by a strong team of over 250 experienced staff and we use state-of-the equipment and techniques for the analysis of all food items to test for various types of pathogens.
Our well-equipped laboratory has been identified as one of the top five laboratories in the country and is certified by NABL, FSSAI, BIS, CDSCO, ISM&H, APEDA, EIC/EIA, and AGMARK.