Technology from Minneapolis-based MOCON, Inc. is to be used in new tests in the UK food sector as part of a focus on extending the shelf-life of milk.

Arla Foods, one of the world’s largest dairies, is installing MOCON’s GreenLight® instrumentation for measuring potential extended shelf-life (ESL) milk spoilage issues in three of its UK dairies.

ESL is understood to be a growing segment in the food industry, with Arla Foods at the forefront of this business via its wide dairy product range and operations (and farmers) across Denmark, Sweden, the UK, Germany, Belgium, Luxemburg and the Netherlands.

MOCON’s GreenLight® technology – developed by its Ireland-based partner Luxcel Biosciences – will be part of a high-technology instrument suite for detecting, identifying and tracking potential sources of spoilage. The instrument can provide results at very low bacterial loads in less than 24 hours, without in-carton pre-incubation. This compares to 48- to 72-hours required by the traditional, agar-based, standard plate count method.

Uses of the GreenLight® instrument will likely expand to include in-process monitoring, MOCON says. The company expects to reduce its overall testing time by 300%, significantly impacting its productivity.

“It is well documented that counting technologies do not provide information about potential spoilage organisms,” said Alan Traylor, Business Manager of Microbial Detection at MOCON. “GreenLight® has met the challenge of providing a product release test that is not only rapid but also has the sensitivity to detect potential spoilage organisms that might be missed by other techniques.”

A Whole Lot Brewing Down on the Farm


To conduct the test, MOCON explains, the milk sample is simply poured into a bar-coded APCheck™ vial, which has a built-in oxygen sensor. Samples can be measured directly or with nutrient media added. Unlike plate counting methods, no serial dilutions are necessary.

Typically, GreenLight® tests use a much larger sample volume than other methods, which increases sensitivity and the chance of detecting very small bacterial loads in final packaged products.

When the company’s fully automated GreenLight® 930-15 is used, the vials can be batch loaded onto the 24-position carousel, or individually loaded at any time during the unit’s ‘continuous’ mode. As bacteria in the test sample multiply and respire, they consume oxygen; the change in oxygen is used to detect the presence of growth organisms. At certain levels, the bacterial load can be enumerated. Following the test, the sample is in an ideal state for further culture analysis that can be used for organism identification.

gasworld understands that MOCON is making the rapid GreenLight® assay, with its dedicated reader, available across the globe as it seeks to help improve dairy hygiene across the entire value chain, from dairy farm to packaging and transport.