Food Safety Magazine

FSM eDigest | December 2, 2014

Faster, Better, Cheaper… What’s Most Important in a Pathogen Test?

By Tom Weschler

Faster, Better, Cheaper… What’s Most Important in a Pathogen Test?

For close to 20 years, Strategic Consulting (SCI) has been following the industrial microbiology market, and food safety testing applications in particular. As part of the data gathering for our most recent report, Industrial Microbiology Market Review, SCI interviewed 15 senior managers at major food companies and food contract labs (FCLs) to understand their priorities when choosing a pathogen diagnostic method. The interviews were roughly split between food companies and food contract labs.

SCI identified 10 important attributes for evaluating a diagnostic method or instrument, and asked the interviewees to stack rank the top five items most important to them.

The three top-ranked choices were the same at both food companies and FCLs, with sensitivity/specificity the most important attribute. Second in importance was the ability of the method to be utilized in a broad range of food matrices. Ranking third was the cost per test for diagnostic reagents.

For food companies, time to results (TTR) was tied for third in the stack ranking, followed by ease of use (EOU)/automation in fifth place. Clearly, food companies want quick results but only after they are assured that the pathogen diagnostic they are using provides accurate results and is able to work with a range of food types.

For food contract labs, the cost of the pathogen diagnostic instrument ranks fourth, and TTR is tied with the cost of labor per test for fifth. For FCLs, most of the key attributes in method selection are based on operational considerations, which makes perfect sense given testing is their business.

Tom Weschler is president of Strategic Consulting, Inc. (www.Strategic-Consult.com), which provides business strategy and market intelligence for industrial diagnostics companies. Email Tom at info@Strategic-Consult.com.

 

> Categories: Testing and Analysis: Methods, Microbiological