Contact us: Phone: +44 (0)1372 365049

Funding awarded to develop a platform for the rapid detection of Coronavirus on food processing surfaces

A joint project, to build a diagnostic platform to improve the on-site testing capacity of the food industry, has been awarded €790k from EIT Food as part of the COVID-19 Rapid Response Call for Innovation.

The partnership comprises SwissDeCode (CH), Microbion (IT), IATA CSIC (ES), University of Helsinki (FI) and Eurofins.

The funding will support the development of a platform to help food companies to quickly detect the presence of Coronavirus on food processing surfaces, delivering results in less than one hour with no need for complex instrumentation or specialised personnel. The platform is an automated testing device which will be installed directly at the food processing facilities reducing the chance of disruption caused by contaminated working environments or food products.

"This support from EIT Food allows our partners and us to develop a unique solution for the food industry, at a time of uncertainty when companies need to be prepared for every possible scenario. In the future, it means that we are ready to react to any pandemic threatening humans, livestock (i.e. African Swine Flu) or major crops (i.e. Cocoa Swollen Shoot). For any event, we will continue to help food companies to prevent disruptions to their normal workflow," commented Gianpaolo Rando, CTO.

The European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) is an independent body of the European Union, which was established in 2008 to deliver innovation across Europe by bringing together leading business, education and research organisations to form dynamic cross-border partnerships. EIT Food is described as Europe's leading food innovation initiative, working to make the food system more sustainable, healthy and trusted.

Other ETI funding includes EURO 6.17 million for 'COVID-19 Rapid Response Call' for Innovation projects. "The Call was designed to fast-track product or service solutions that could have a significant and immediate impact to the challenges brought about by COVID-19 on the agrifood sector." For example, a EURO 485,000 award to COVICOAT, a project to develop an edible antiviral coating containing active herbal extracts to prevent COVID-19 surface contamination of fresh fruits and vegetables.