The SafetySpect – Chapman University Collaboration
SafetySpect has a formal agreement in place with the Food Science Program at Chapman University in Orange County, California, strategically located an hour drive from the SafetySpect headquarters in Sherman Oaks. This collaboration provides SafetySpect with access to a food safety laboratory approved for the handling of biological pathogens. This includes exposure response plans and other necessary equipment for SafetySpect to perform testing to develop its food safety solutions. Additionally, this relationship provides access to industry experts in food safety, food fraud and food microbiology.
All this has saved SafetySpect a tremendous amount of time and money, which is non-dilutive. Chapman Univ. has provided SafetySpect with access to pathogens such as Salmonellaand E. Coli and prepared food samples for DNA testing (addressing fish adulteration) within these labs. They also are a trusted third party that is validating our technology.
In December 2017, we started the food safety application of our technology (multimode spectral imaging platform) with the measurements of pet food samples spiked with different concentration of Salmonella. The measurement results provided direct access to food pathogen measurements and, in spite of success, revealed different technical issues with the developed system. This allowed SafetySpect to improve optical, and software performance of the system in 2018. We have presented our measurement results in the 2018 Poultry Science Association annual meeting in July 2018 (https://www.poultryscience.org/psa18/).
Since November 2018, we have been validating our multimode spectroscopy technology on fish quality and adulteration assessments. We have been measuring fish samples purchased from local grocery stores and online sources. We are creating spectral signatures for each fish type based on reflectance and fluorescence spectral signals. All fish samples are prepared for DNA sequencing in Dr. Hellberg’s laboratory before optical scanning to ensure efficacy, accurate sample identification and cross-checking. In Q1 and Q2 2019, we will run parallel multimode spectral measurements in the USDA ARS laboratory headquarters in Beltsville, Maryland. All fish samples measured in the USDA lab will be prepared for DNA testing in Chapman University. We anticipate achieving an extensive spectral signature library for various fish types. The spectral data enables SafetySpect to develop a machine learning/artificial intelligence algorithm to assess fish type, wild caught/farmed, and identify the freeze and thaw process in fish fillets, non-invasively and in a few seconds. This will provide SafetySpect a valuable database for developing our handheld system based on multimode measurements in seafood quality/adulteration applications.
SafetySpect and Dr. Rosalee Hellberg (https://www.chapman.edu/our-faculty/rosalee-hellberg) have a pending USDA discovery grant to apply multimode spectral imaging technology for food safety applications. We will expect award information by January 2019.
SafetySpect and Dr. Rosalee Hellberg (Co-Principal Investigator) also have a pending USDA SBIR grant for using of multimode spectral imaging technology for fish quality applications. We will expect award information by April 2019.