Heateflex Corporation, a global leader in high-purity industrial heating systems, has introduced a new product, Demeter, designed to streamline the media preparation process in commercial food-testing labs.
Demeter automates the traditionally manual, dehydrated media reagent preparation step in a lab for increased testing throughput and accuracy. Additionally, the system records the precise volumetric amounts and temperatures (NIST traceable) used in a test, then feeds that information into a laboratory information management system (LIMS), streamlining recordkeeping for regulatory compliance.
Testing for pathogens in food labs has historically been a slow, manual process, with risks of human errors. Long incubation times are typically required for media preparation, and the extensive use of autoclaves at various steps in the process is both time-consuming and expensive. Food-testing labs are also required to conduct yearly compliance inspections to be ISO 17025:2005 certified, a process that has historically been paper-based and cumbersome. Lastly, the Food Safety Modernization Act recently passed into law requires additional regulations for documentation, food testing and accreditation in the food- testing industry.
The new Demeter system saves lab-testing time in a number of ways. As the Demeter-dispensed DI water is sterilized through filtration and dispensed at incubation temperature, the autoclave step for sterilization may be skipped here. Demeter is also self-sterilizing, further delivering long-term cost reduction benefits. To save time in record keeping, Demeter incorporates a barcode scanner subsystem that records sample data for interface with a LIMS, streamlining the recordkeeping required for yearly compliance with ISO 17025:2005 regulations.
The system has a printer that produces a label for pasting into lab notebooks, and a flash drive for recording the most recent test results, with non-volatile storage as a backup.
Demeter is ideally suited for the media preparation and testing of a variety of pathogens, including E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella. The first-generation system has been successfully integrated into a number of microbiological food-testing labs, and has been shown to deliver up to a ten-fold increase in sample process throughput. It is also applicable for integration into microbiological environmental and water-testing lab operations.
“The new Demeter system from Heateflex is designed to automate the media room in the testing lab to reduce human errors, increase throughput and ultimately reduce operating costs,” said Steve Hausle, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Heateflex. “Additionally, the test documentation capabilities engineered into the Demeter system will facilitate compliance with increasingly rigorous requirements being mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act.”