A Texas biotech company has developed a one-hour field test that can detect the presence of horse, pig or rat meat in ground or sliced meat samples.
San Antonio-based Alpha Diagnostic International (ADI) has developed and released the test, which is primarily geared towards use by meat processing plants, bulk meat buyers, and sellers at restaurants and grocery stores, as well as by qualified laboratories and law enforcement agencies.
The company said the test aimed to provide quick and independent testing of meat samples without the hassle and cost of sending samples to an outside laboratory and waiting for results.
The exploitation of meat is easier and more pronounced in the absence of a do-it-yourself test, the company said.
Introducing a rapid, sensitive, and inexpensive horse, pig and rat meat field test was necessary to detect and control meat adulteration issues around the world, it said.
The release of the test follows the horse-meat contamination scandal that gripped Europe earlier this year. Millions of ready-to-eat meals containing beef products were pulled from stores across the European Union after it was found they were adulterated with horse meat.
The scandal highlighted the complexities of the food chain and its vulnerability to rogue traders.
ADI said DNA tests currently in use can be performed only by a few expert laboratories, and it was time-consuming and expensive.
“In Europe, there are test result delays due to the collection, processing, and sending of many samples to very few testing labs,” it said.
“There is an urgent need to develop a simple, rapid, and inexpensive test that can be performed on-site at grocery stores, meat-packaging plants, restaurants and fast food suppliers.”