Productivity boost for food testing labs

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3M Food Safety has introduced a new automation technology that gives food safety professionals more options to rapidly and accurately image, count and document microbiological colonies on 3M Petrifilm Plates indicator tests. By rapidly automating the colony-counting step of 3M Petrifilm Plates, the new 3M Petrifilm Plate Reader Advanced saves food safety labs time and increases productivity.

A small, peripheral device containing a five-megapixel camera and versatile bar code reader, the 3M Petrifilm Plate Reader Advanced utilises fixed artificial intelligence networks to enumerate 3M Petrifilm Plates. 3M Petrifilm Plates are inserted into the device, with imaging and information automatically displaying on a USB-connected computer in less than six seconds, processing up to 900 plates per hour. The device can enumerate 10 3M Petrifilm Plates and the Staph Express Disk and includes software that allows technicians to edit results and add other relevant sample information. A study conducted found up to 94% reduced time to enumerate 3M Petrifilm Plates when using the 3M Petrifilm Plate Reader Advanced.*  (*Observed on the 3M Petrifilm Aerobic Count Plate with High Counts.)

Food safety is always a top concern globally, but challenges related to COVID-19 have put additional pressure on organizations to maximize resources,” said Elliott Zell, 3M Food Safety global new product marketing manager. “3M is in a unique position to help the food-and-beverage industry maximize the efficiency of the critical tests it manages each day, and we have invested in advanced hardware and software to help labs reduce tedious tasks in favor of strategic activities. The 3M Petrifilm Plate Reader Advanced — the latest innovation in our iconic 3M Petrifilm solution — uses automation to help increase throughput in testing labs.”

3M Petrifilm Plate Reader Advanced is 3M Food Safety’s second automation offering within the last two years for food-and-beverage manufacturers looking to streamline their operations and modernise their laboratories. In 2019, 3M announced it had partnered with Hamilton Company to offer food testing laboratories interoperability between the Hamilton ‘foodInspect’ NIMBUS automated multichannel pipetting technology and the award-winning 3M Molecular Detection System.

Individuals interested in ordering or learning more about 3M’s expanding portfolio of automation-enabled tests and technologies should visit

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With over 20 years experience in editorial management and content creation for a broad spectrum of market-leading B2B magazines and websites in the transport and technology sectors, Anthony has written news and features covering everything from airport security to autonomous vehicles, and stadium design to sustainable energy.

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