Researchers have combined biosensor techniques with fiber-optics to produce a cheap probe able to reveal levels of pathological bacteria in foods. The process takes about an hour, making time-consuming lab testing unnecessary. Reportedly, 75 million US citizens annually get food poisoning. Over 300,000 are hospitalized and 5,000 die. The developers believe the technology is ready for market now but they are preparing a system that would work simply by waving it over the food, detecting pathogens without touching the substance being tested.
In related news, European biotech firms are struggling to catch up with US leaders in this new industry.