FDA announces 2014 Food Safety Challenge winners

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday announced the 2014 FDA Food Safety Challenge winners in a competition to advance breakthrough ideas on detecting disease-causing organisms in food.

There was a grand prize winner, who received $300,000 in prize money, as well as a runner-up, who received $100,000.

Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, was named the grand prize winner for its physical method for concentrating salmonella to detectable levels using automated microfiltration. This new method uses minuscule filters to detect and capture foodborne pathogens in liquid suspensions.

The runner-up winner was Pronucleotein, Inc.’s DNA aptamer-magnetic bead sandwich assays, used to detect foodborne pathogens with a handheld fluorescence reader. This method takes small strands of bound DNA to magnetize foodborne pathogens. These pathogens are then highlighted with pigments that light up for easier detection.

“We are truly impressed by the number and quality of submissions we received as part of the FDA 2014 Food Safety Challenge, and we are excited to announce the winners, who demonstrated the most promising ideas for fighting foodborne illness throughout the course of the Challenge,” Palmer Orlandi, the FDA’s acting chief science officer and research director in the Office of Foods and Veterinary Medicine, said. “These breakthrough concepts for detecting foodborne pathogens in fresh produce and other foods will help ensure quicker detection of problems in our food supply and help to prevent foodborne illnesses.”

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FDA Office of Medical Products and Tobacco U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

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