Food and nutrition companies market increasingly complex products and therefore need to establish and maintain quality standards. These quality controls and processes are unsustainable. Herbalife Nutrition performs RT-PCR trials for pathogen detection that reduce the number of tests for a reduced molecular trial. These new test protocols reduce plastic waste - up to one ton per year - and optimize necessary means and equipment involved
The food industry has the duty to test its products to detect Salmonella, E. coli, and Staphylococcus aureus, among other pathogens, since the presence of these, even at very low levels, in food for human consumption poses a serious threat to human health. These processes therefore have a single objective: to ensure that the products are of quality. However, the high number of single-use sterile materials required, and the resulting amount of laboratory waste, make them unsustainable.
For Peter Chang, Vice President of Herbalife Nutrition Corporate Quality Control, “quality analysis carries a high cost due to disposable materials, in addition to kits, consumables, reagents and solutions, test materials, glassware, properly trained personnel, expensive equipment and laboratory space. A lab with environmental responsibility must be aware of the amount of plastic waste of a single use that generates and find a way to reduce them.”
Sustainable RT-PCR testing, yes, are possible
In that mission, Herbalife Nutrition was embarked with Invisible Sentinel, bioMerieux, Inc. and FoodChek Systems, companies with which the multinational has reached an agreement to make the detection of pathogens a sustainable process with the planet. “We have created the RT-PCR NutraPlex Pro trial, which replaces the multiple tests needed so far by a single molecular trial of reduced format,” Chang explains. Using a single medium, time and temperature of enrichment, platform and kit, it reduces the cost of materials and means, of maintenance, of plastic waste; the amount of equipment required; and the time of the expert analyst responsible for the test. Tipos de lenguaje
Quantitatively, these have been the savings achieved with this method:
- The analysis of the cost savings between July and September of 2021, regarding the average of the previous two years, estimates an annual savings of 25% in the costs of the tests. A total cost savings of approximately $100,000 per year per centre is estimated at material savings, and an additional 15,000 per year per centre at cost of equipment costs.
- Conventional methods require important confirmation efforts in the event of alleged positive results. The NutraPlex Pro RT-PCR method is highly specific and throws less false positives, further reducing additional tests and costs. Plastic wastes can potentially be reduced to one ton per year, an ideal number for ecological initiatives and conservation plans. Specific plastic residues of pathogen testing were reduced by 94% or 1 ton per year.
- It is estimated that the analyst can save 40 minutes a day, as shown by the difference in time per sample in June 2021 compared to the time per sample between July and September 2021.
Quality controls, a look to the future
Food and nutrition companies have a great responsibility, as they market more and more complex products and therefore need to establish and maintain quality standards. Any incident that could compromise the quality of the products could have consequences, both financial and recurrent, and trigger the withdrawal of products from the market, replacement of products, lawsuits and civil liability judgments, etc. The greatest risk could be, according to Chang, “the damage to the company’s brand image between consumers and other stakeholders, as well as the loss of confidence.”
Pathogen detection processes such as the one that has launched Herbalife Nutrition, by the hand of Invisible Sentinel, bioMerieux, Inc. and FoodChek Systems, are a fervent test that it is possible to implement efficient, effective and sustainable quality control strategies with which to create safer and reliable products.
Can quality controls of products be sustainable? Herbalife Nutrition already does
Food and nutrition companies market increasingly complex products and therefore need to establish and maintain quality standards. These quality controls and pr
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