Listeria monocytogenes (listeria) is an organism found naturally in the environment, soil and air and is extremely dangerous when ingested by humans, with listeriosis, being the third-leading cause of food-related death. The severe disease, listeriosis, carries a 20% fatality rate and is especially detrimental to those with lower immunity, such as the elderly, children and pregnant women. To prevent listeria from entering the food chain, processors test their production sites frequently, using swab tests. However, current detection methods may not generate results for several hours, or days.
This challenge, set in conjunction with PepsiCo, the multinational food and beverage corporation, seeks revolutionary digital solutions to increase the speed at which food manufacturers can detect listeria in their food production facilities. The successful solution should deliver continuous or same day results and should be effective across a range of foods, liquids and dairy products.