On the left side, Jonathan G. Sierra (Yarok) and, on the right, Daniele Corino (Instabact) // © Yzza Ibrahim
Israeli start-up develops faster pathogen testing: from 5 days to 45 minutes
The new Yarok Direct Detection system for pathogens is expected to transform the entire food supply chain – from growers, to food manufacturers, to food retailers. The method was developed by Dr Vladimir Glukhman, a former researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and current chief science officer at Yarok Microbio. “The procedure begins by getting samples of the food and testing these using Yarok’s software for bacteria such as E.coli, Listeria, and Salmonella, to name a few. The test need not be performed by a microbiologist expert but, instead, can be executed by any trained staff,” said Yarok’s CEO, Jonathan Sierra.
What is interesting about this technology is the time the kit can save: only 45 minutes, as opposed to the industry standard of around 5 days. This is one of the motivations of Dr Glukman, who notes that many players in the industry do not practise pathogen testing due to the length of time it takes for these procedures to be completed. It is uneconomical for some growers to do testing on certain goods such as raw salad ingredients. With this product, however, growers can detect pathogens faster, saving them from future damage like product recalls, lawsuits, consumer health hazards, and even potential cancellation of contracts with food retailers. At present, the kit can be utilised on produce such as leafy greens and milk.
Established in 2017, Yarok is a start-up based in Jerusalem and with operations in Italy to cater to the European market. The company continues to expand its portfolio with a focus on eggs in 2020.