For industrial food testing laboratories in the United States, false positives for foodborne pathogens have long “tested” an industry whose foundation is moored in its ability to deliver timely, accurate,
and dependable results to food processors, manufacturers, and retailers.
About a decade ago, one of the holdings of
Matrix Sciences International, a provider of testing,
research, advisory, and analytics services to the food
industry with 10 locations across North America,
was experiencing rates of false positives on certain
matrices with its molecular diagnostic platform.
“While experiencing false positives on any testing
kit is expected, higher rates can be disruptive to
laboratory workflow and can create havoc for food
companies,” says D.J. Alwattar, chief marketing and
sales officer at Matrix Sciences.
In hope of addressing this pressing and frustrating
issue, one of the laboratories in the Matrix network turned to a new
and revolutionary technology—Bio-Rad Laboratories’ double-stranded
hybridization probe in the iQ-Check platform.
Following the implementation of this proprietary technology, the
food testing facility experienced a notable reduction in false positives,
especially on product matrices.
“We found the iQ-Check platform to be highly specific for the
target organism we were detecting, and the sensitivity of the platform
allowed us to operate with a shorter incubation time to provide
next-day results for Listeria spp., Listeria monocytogenes, and
Salmonella,” Alwattar notes. With the new system securely in place,
the Matrix location was able to reduce the number of time-consuming
confirmations it had to run with its discarded platform.
For Matrix, the switch to the Bio-Rad iQ-Check platform was a
sound scientific and business decision: a decision that resulted in the
formation of a rock solid partnership with the Hercules, CA-based
As one of the fastest growing companies in the food testing
industry, Matrix Sciences, which is headquartered in Chicago, IL,
leverages the technological prowess and innovation of Bio-Rad across
its network to protect the brand of its valued customers. Since the
early 1950s, Bio-Rad has been at the center of scientific discovery,
manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of a broad range of
products for life science research and clinical diagnostic markets.
Through its various iQ-Check platforms and other product
innovations, Bio-Rad is recognized worldwide for the company’s
expertise in the development of molecular diagnostic solutions for the
detection of foodborne pathogens.
Ready to Launch
After Bio-Rad launched its iQ-Check Prep automation system, a
robotic liquid handling platform that automatically performs DNA
extraction and PCR plate set-up, Matrix quickly adopted the cutting-edge technology.
Designed to optimize the full range of
the company’s validated real-time PCR
food pathogen detection kits, the system
offers full traceability, which is critical for
food pathogen detection methods. The
robust iQ-Check Prep automation system
offers a bevy of notable benefits for commercial testing laboratories, including:
• Greater Flexibility: The platform runs
up to four different iQ-Check assays
simultaneously and performs 500
tests in one 8-hour shift, allowing lab
resources to be reallocated for other
• Increased Confidence and Efficiency:
The iQ-Check Prep automation system
improves traceability with barcodes
and bidirectional LIMS integration,
provides real-time monitoring of each
pipet step with liquid level sensing,
and uses internationally validated
• Art-of-Design: The platform is
equipped with ready-to-use, load-and-go reagents and an intuitive
user interface, and is designed for
limited maintenance; air-displacement
pipetting eliminates vacuum pumps
and liquid waste.
Alwattar, who possesses over 25 years
of experience in the food testing industry,
soundly praises the iQ-Check Prep automation system as an indispensable fixture
in the organization’s daily operations.
“Reducing the number of steps that a
human can handle increases efficiencies
and throughput of the laboratory, but it
also reduces the potential for human error. This is very important when dealing
with foodborne pathogens and the implication for a positive result on product,”
It is often said that successful and
long-term business partnerships rest on
several consequential pillars, such as
trust, responsiveness, and communication. In every aspect, the Matrix executive
says Bio-Rad has met and exceeded his
expectations over the past decade.
“The level of responsiveness in service
from Bio-Rad and its technical team has
been critical in supporting our North
American network. At Matrix, we have
built a culture and reputation of service to
our customers, but we can only fulfill that
with our partners. Our customers look to
us to communicate with them, and with
integrity. Our relationship with Bio-Rad
has mirrored that,” Alwattar affirms.
Leveraging the Innovation of
the iQ-Check Platform
FOOD SAFETY INSIDER