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BC Tech Accelerator Makes Initial Investments

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Western Michigan University's Battle Creek campus, home of classes of the International Food Protection Training Institute

Western Michigan University’s Battle Creek campus, home of classes of the International Food Protection Training Institute

(credit: istock) Technology Report
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BATTLE CREEK — The Emerging Technology Accelerator, an initiative of the Global Food Protection Institute, announced it will make investments in two startup companies that have developed products that rapidly detect pathogens in food. Seattle Sensor Systems and NanoRete were selected from over 40 companies.

Technology plays a key role in protecting the food supply and consumer safety. Presently, there is an urgent need for new tools that quickly, affordably and accurately detect for contaminants — such as pathogens and toxins — in the food supply.

“One of the challenges in protecting the global food supply is having field-based technology that will detect potential problems more rapidly,” said Julia Bradsher, president & CEO of GFPI. “Providing entrepreneurial support to NanoRete and Seattle Sensor will help fast track these technologies to market.”

NanoRete Inc.: The company provides real-time detection of pathogens using customized nanoparticle biosensors. The company has developed a platform that has the ability to test for numerous pathogens and toxins (anthrax, E. Coli, salmonella, tuberculosis, etc.) using a simple-to-use handheld device which generates screening results in about one hour. The platform technologies were developed at Michigan State University initially in response to specific military requirements for food safety and security.

Seattle Sensor Systems Corp.: This company uses a portable surface plasmon resonance (SPR) technology for the detection of biohazards in food and the environment. This technology is currently embedded in a rugged, portable SPR instrument. The device, based on University of Washington research, will protect food sources by monitoring production and analyzing the factory environment for hazards. This flexible measurement platform can be customized to detect pathogens, allergens, and toxins, quickly ruling out multiple biohazards simultaneously.

GFPI is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization driving the adoption of food protection policies and practices for a safer global food supply.  GFPI’s mission is to improve public health and reduce mortality, morbidity and economic costs associated with foodborne illnesses through three core initiatives.

* Emerging Technology Accelerator, which is advancing the development of novel food protection technologies.
* International Food Protection Training Institute, which is building the training infrastructure for the national integrated food safety system.
* Imagined Food Futures, which is facilitating the adoption of policies and practices that will lead to improved public health.

Start-up funding for GFPI has been provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. For more information, visit www.gfpi.org.

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