Lab Canada

Partnership to focus on research to combat food contamination

Toronto, ON – Theralase Technologies says it is partnering with George Brown College’s Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts to conduct applied research in the use of patented photodynamic compounds (PDCs) activated by its proprietary laser technology to destroy microbial pathogens associated with food contamination.

This food safety approach is receiving support from the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). PDCs are light sensitive molecules that have the ability to attach themselves to specific cell types, in this case food pathogens such as bacteria, and are able to destroy these cells upon light activation.

Theralase Technologies, founded in Toronto in 1995, designs, develops and manufactures patented, superpulsed laser technology utilized in biostimulation and biodestruction applications.

“In the wake of many outbreaks of consumer food contaminations associated with microbial pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes (Listeria) and Escherichia coli (E coli) and their various strains, Theralase initiated the study to determine the feasibility of using our patented PDCs for sanitation in the food service, food manufacturing and medical industries,” said Roger Dumoulin-White, president & CEO of Theralase. “Given their history and pedigree in culinary arts and additional focus on food applied research, the George Brown College Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts is a perfect partner for applied research in new and innovative sanitation protocols and techniques using the company’s patented lasers and photodynamic compounds.”

The 14-week food safety feasibility study will determine the specific areas in food processing facilities where pathogen contamination is not being adequately addressed by current processes and procedures. The contamination danger is a fundamental and ongoing concern of the food industry.

“Food safety is an increasingly important public health issue as food recalls are a costly exercise that can easily tarnish a company’s reputation of quality. At George Brown we are always looking for relevant initiatives to conduct applied research that can provide our students with real time, real life learning opportunities as well as mutually benefiting our industry partners by providing effective solutions.” said Winnie Chiu, director, food innovation & research, and principal investigator, George Brown College.

The results of the study are expected in September 2011 and will be followed by further lab testing and a pilot project at a commercial food processing facility.