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FreshDetect to Receive EU Support

As part of its Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, the European Union has agreed to support the high-tech start-up FreshDetect GmbH headquartered in Pullach, Germany (Munich). The grant is intended to help the company expand its BFD-100, a portable device for rapid and precise quality control of food products, across Europe. The project will also support enhancements designed to fully exploit the potential of the technology in food manufacturing.

Around the world, currently two of the most important issues for food manufacturers are waste and safety during production. Behind this backdrop, FreshDetect GmbH will receive support from the European Union beginning September 2018. The support will come from phase 2 of the EU’s Horizon 2020 SME financial instruments program and will specifically target enhancements to and expansion of the FreshDetect technology within Europe.

“Each year, 88 million tons of food valued at €143 billion are wasted in the EU alone,” explains Oliver Dietrich, Managing Director of FreshDetect GmbH. “With the BFD-100, the first portable measurement device for rapidly determining the microbiological quality of food, our aim is to help address this issue. The BFD-100 is the first device that enables hygiene quality control across the entire production process and creates a new dimension in food safety. It furthermore lays an important foundation for optimizing the manufacturing process and minimizing food waste.”

Horizon 2020 is the EU’s framework program for research and innovation that aims to establish a knowledge- and innovation-based society and secure Europe’s global competitiveness, while at the same time contributing to long-term economic growth.

The EU created a special instrument to increase the participation of small- and medium-size enterprises (SMU) in the Horizon 2020 program. While it focuses on application-based research and demonstration, the SMU instrument also has its eye on the marketing innovation phase. With the chances for being selected for such support at a very low 5 percent, these types of grants are a distinction for the company and its growth.


The BFD-100 is the world’s first handheld device for determining bacterial contamination in raw meat. The non-invasive, fluorescence spectroscopy measurement ascertains the total viable count (TVC) within seconds, but with a level of accuracy similar to standard microbiological methods. The result is displayed in CFU/cm² . The device can handle up to 2,000 measurements before the data has to be transferred to a PC. The TVC results are output and saved together with the temperature, date and time of the measurement and a sequential test number.

The technology relies on emitting an intense blue light onto the surface of the meat under evaluation. Fluorescent signals from bacteria and the meat matrix are detected by a spectrophotometer.  Algorithms specific for the meat matrix and bacteria are used to determine the bacterial count in that sample.

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