The University of Auckland (UoA), FoodSafe Research Team

Research team:

Dr Frederique Vanholsbeeck, Science Leader | Diana Whiting, Programme Manager | Associate Professor Simon Swift | Associate Professor Cather Simpson | Dr Cushla McGoverin | Dr Craig Tuffnell | Dr Scott Choi | Janesha Perera | Fang Ou | Claire Honney | Ming Yong


FoodSafe is a MBIE funded, University of Auckland led, research programme aimed at developing near real time devices to assess food safety in situ.

Current methods for detecting bacteria in food require a laboratory and take days to get results.  Using novel laser, photonics, and microfluidics technologies, we are developing a totally new method of testing for bacteria in any fluid.  Our invention can give a result to NZ food producers and exporters in 20 minutes, not 3 days – no lab needed. 

The technology is being developed in partnership with Veritide Ltd, an innovative Christchurch-based company specialising in such sensors, who plan to commercialise and export the resulting device.  NZ meat producer ANZCO and laboratory AsureQuality are assisting us with the technology development.  We aim to extend use beyond the NZ meat sector to the seafood sector and beyond. The benefits of our research include reducing the cost of wastage to food producers, improving food safety, and extending the shelf-life of perishable food products by several days.


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