The Technology

Non-invasive optical techniques

Veritide's technology uses optical techniques to reliably detect and identify food microorganisms and contaminants.

Our non-invasive optical techniques are flexible and rapid and are based on many years of extensive research and development.

Potential applications for Veritide's technology include non-contact feces detection on meat carcasses, rapid bacteria enumeration in liquids, water quality and safety, food quality and contaminant analysis, surface hygiene validation, bacterial spore counting, biohazard detection and medical diagnosis.

Veritide’s novel technology overcomes many of the historical limitations of compact biological identification equipment. It is well suited to hand-held, desktop and in-line devices alike, along with application-specific embedded solutions.

World Leading Food Safety Products

Based on our expertise in optics, electronics, software and product development, combined with research programmes from the University of Canterbury and the University of Auckland, Veritide is well setup to develop world leading food safety products.

Over recent years there have been major advances in photodetectors, LEDs, laser diodes and optics that have significantly contributed to Veritide's capabilities. These advances, when combined with Veritide's patented analysis techniques, have the required detection sensitivities and accuracy to detect low levels of bacteria and contaminants.

Veritide's broad IP and patent portfolio covers areas from bacterial spore detection, fecal detection and bacteria detection through optical techniques.

Meat Processing Floor Plan

The diagram is an illustration of where Veritide technology can be applied in a meat processing factory.

Technology overview and applications

History of development

  • Veritide initially started as a technology start-up focussed upon the identification of spores using fluorescence spectroscopy developed at the University of Canterbury.
  • The initial focus was on Anthrax but this market was limited and lack of access to capital curtailed further development.
  • Powerhouse Ventures, with the aid of NZ government and seed funding restarted the venture with a shift in focus on identifying e-coli on meat, a major source of contamination in the meat supply chain.
  • It was found that using spectroscopy to identify e-coli was quite hard however, discussions with meat processors led Veritide to refocus its attention on developing the technology to find faeces, as this is the key source of e-coli contamination on meat.
  • The company has since then developed the proprietary scanning technology to detect faeces and refined the delivery hardware (e.g. hand held unit and hot spot camera).
  • Led by Powerhouse Ventures, Veritide is now moving into the commercialisation phase, which includes in situ testing of the delivery hardware in meat processing plants.
  • Trials are currently underway in New Zealand and Australia. Two units have recently been deployed in commercial processing sites. These industry supported commercial trials are very important, as they provide an opportunity for Veritide to refine the technology and delivery system with input from its customers.
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Importance of food safety in the supply chain

  • Food safety should be front-of-mind for food processing companies, including meat processors. Their aim should be to ensure that meat eats well, is safe and does not harm consumers.
  • The consequences of poor food safety can put consumers at risk of sickness and in the most severe cases, death. If this occurs the financial and
    reputational implications may be very severe, particularly at the company level but also for industry.
  • Shelf life is adversely affected by contamination. A cleaner product will have greater shelf life. Thus adding value through the supply chain – less waste and more time on shelf for consumers.

What the Veritide scanning technology does

  • Veritide technology identifies visible and non-visible faecal contamination on beef and lamb meat in real time, instantly.
  • With an additive to the water supply prior to slaughter, we believe that the technology can also be applied to the Poultry and Pork supply chains that are more “vertically integrated” (i.e. companies involved in these sectors tend to have a greater level of vertical integration).

How the Veritide scanning technology works

  • Veritide’s faecal detection technology employs fluorescence techniques and a mathematical algorithm to detect chlorophyll and its metabolites within faecal material found on the surface of meat.
  • Fluorescence, also known as photo-luminescence is light emission of a substance (i.e. luminescence) when the substance is excited by another light (i.e. photo).
  • The initial focus has been on ruminants, namely cattle and sheep, which are herbivores, hence the presence of chlorophyll in their faeces.
  • Chlorophyll is optically very active and hence yields strong fluorescence signals for the silicon based detectors and sensors, however so does meat, such as collagen, fat and connective tissue.
  • Veritide had to therefore overcome the issue of false positives, which it did successfully by developing a mathematical model enabled faecal fluorescence to be singled out from background meat fluorescence. This is achieved in essence by splitting the light source, such that only the light signal associated with chlorophyll florescence is captured and measured.