Food For Thought
Who knew your favorite meal could pose a serious health threat? No, it has nothing to do with calories, carbs, or fats. It is all about its ingredients. How fresh are they? Where do they come from? How about their quality? And, most important of all, are they are safe to eat?
In today’s global economy, finding answers to these questions can be difficult. The food industry is a global juggernaut with millions of employees around the world and annual revenues of $1.6 to $4.8 trillion a year.1
As for specific ingredients, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration maintains a list of some 3,000 different ingredients used in foods.2 Because so much of what we eat contains multiple ingredients from around the world that are grown and processed under varying conditions and standards, it is nearly impossible to know what is truly fresh, high quality, and safe to eat without some expert help.
Even locally grown foods can pose a threat. The World Health Organization, for example, estimates that over a quarter of global food crops are contaminated with mycotoxins.3 These are toxic secondary metabolites produced by mold that can develop during crop growth or caused by damp storage conditions. Exposure to mycotoxins can result in a variety of medical problems, from gastrointestinal distress to liver and kidney disease, including cancer.4
Testing For Quality And Safety
To help meet the growing needs of farmers, food manufacturers, and consumers, PerkinElmer, a global leader in life and analytical sciences, has been busy building on its expertise and specialized testing equipment for the food and dairy industry. The company is already a recognized leader in analytical instrumentation for the detection of toxins, heavy metals, and pesticides in foods.5
PerkinElmer’s acquisition of Perten Instruments in 2015 extended its globally recognized food analytical platform to include a wide array of benchmark instrumentation that provides leading solutions to farmers, collectives, processors, and manufacturers as specialists in quality control of grain, flour, food, and feed.6
In early 2016, PerkinElmer added Delta Instruments, a well-established Dutch manufacturer of rapid routine analytical instrumentation for the analysis of milk and milk derivatives, to its brand. With an estimated 10% of the global share of the diary analytical instrumentation market, the company manufactures state-of-the-art dairy analyzers to help farmers test the fat and protein content of their milk. These two key ingredients make for a better quality product for consumers and increased profits for farmers and processors in a highly competitive global market.
Continuing to grow its presence in the food sector, PerkinElmer recently added Bioo Scientific Corporation of Austin, TX, to complement its Delta and Perten instrument portfolio.
The addition of Bioo significantly strengthens PerkinElmer’s leading position in food and feed safety products. Among these technologies are ELISA kits and readers as well as immunoassay-based test strips that help growers, producers, and laboratories detect contaminants and dangerous compounds in foods, such as pesticides, mycotoxins, toxins, and antibiotics in food products, including solid and liquid dairy products.7
Taken together, the added analytical capabilities of PerkinElmer help make it a key expert in food testing covering metals, pesticides, mycotoxins, and antibiotics to ensure the quality and safety of our food. In a world full of questions about food safety, PerkinElmer has answers.
- Sarah Murray, “The World's Biggest Industry,” Forbes, November 15, 2007, accessed September 07, 2016.
- USFDA, “Overview of Food Ingredients, Additives & Colors,” International Food Information Council (IFIC) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration, April, 2010, accessed September 8, 2016.
- J. W. Bennett and M. Klich, “Mycotoxins,” Clinical Microbiogy Review, July, 2003, pp. 497–516, accessed September 8, 2016.
- Silvia W.Gratz, Neil Havis, and Fiona Burnett, “Fusarium Mycotoxin Risk In The Human Food Chain,” New Food, Vol. 18, Issue 4, 2015, accessed September 8, 2016.
- PerkinElmer, “Food Safety & Quality,” accessed September 8, 2016.
- Perten Instruments, “Perten Instruments' Product Range,” accessed September 8, 2016.
- Bioo Scientific, “Bioo Scientific's Products and Services,” accessed September 8, 2016.