SAFE bacteria-detection software to be developed

Collaboratively, University College Dublin (UCD) and dairy firms have launched a €1.7 million three-year programme that will see software developed that will have the ability to rapidly detect bacteria during the production process.

Bacteria-detecting software

SAFE is a partnership between six leading food companies: Dairygold, Dawn Farm Food, Glanbia, Kerry, Mead Johnson Nutrition, Nutrition Supplies and Crème Global who are going to be behind this new development.

The decision to develop such software came from the matter that food manufacturing and processing facilities contain millions of bacteria, most of which are harmless, but some can contaminate food. When bacteria poses a threat to food production, a food safety risk is triggered, but the methods currently used to control the bacteria are not yet rapid or specific enough, which is where this new software comes in.

The SAFE program, alongside UCD, plan to develop this new software in the form of a toolbox in order to fight against the risk of bacteria contamination in a more specific, rapid and sustainable way.

The development process

In order to create the end product, UCD researchers, over the course of two years, will track the environments in some of the food manufacturing plants situated in Ireland. Seasonal and climate changes will be taken into account; these changes can cause microbiome of the facilities, which could result in directly affecting food quality and the nutritional value of the food.

After these microbiomes have been tracked, databases will be created that will make use of gene sequencing technology and statistical analysis in order to define bacterial characteristics.

Once the databases have been created, they will then be used to develop a predictive software toolbox that will be able to rapidly detect the bacteria present in food facilities.


Written by Jordan Platt