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New Salmonella Detection Tool Could Change Food Manufacturer’s Safety Protocol. For the Better!

Posted in Food Safety,Our Blog on March 5, 2024

Salmonella is a commonly observed foodborne bacteria linked to 1.35 million illnesses each year, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This results in 26,200 hospitalizations and accounts for 420 deaths.

In recent years, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has investigated several Salmonella outbreaks associated with a variety of foods. Just last year, cantaloupes, fresh diced onions, ground beef, raw cookie dough, and flour were pinned to multi-state outbreaks. At the start of this year charcuterie meats have been found contaminated with Salmonella, resulting in a multi-state outbreak sickening 87 people so far.

A new Salmonella detection tool could help food manufacturers strengthen their safety protocols.

It is called the N​-Light™ Salmonella Risk, and it is made by NEMIS Technologies. This new Salmonella detection tool could be a game changer for food manufacturers to get ahead of gross contamination, allowing them to bring the lab to their facility and test more environmental samples.

What is This New Salmonella Detection Tool?

According to NEMIS Technologies, “only about 1-4 out of 500 EM [environmental monitoring] samples are positive for Salmonella spp.” It is a veritable needle in a haystack.

Between the time and cost effectiveness of being able to swab every square foot of the facility, paired with the timeline for samples to return from the lab, many potential risks could be overlooked.

This new Salmonella detection tool tests for Salmonella, along with other closely related bacteria such as Citrobacter, Klebsiella, and Enterobacter, as they share certain specific metabolic and genetic markers.

Plus, the firm would receive results in as little as 24 hours.

How Does this New Salmonella Detection Tool Work?

This new Salmonella detection tool does not require a science degree or background to operate. Just about anyone in the facility could effectively use this tool to test for Salmonella contamination.

Take a Swab

The first step is to take a swab of an area you wish to test.

Environmental samples usually consist of food contact surfaces, equipment, floors, handrails, doors, and even waving the swab around in the air.

Environmental contamination does not always indicate the pathogen is in the product; a product sample would need to be performed for that analysis. But it is an indicator of risk.

Close the Lid

After the swab is obtained, the lid is closed. According to the website, this lid can be opened and closed multiple times. That, however, is not a good practice. It will, though, cut down on testing material waste.

Once the sample is taken, the lid screws on securely. While the website does not mention this explicitly, the test tube should be labeled and dated.


The next step in using this new Salmonella detection tool is to incubate the samples. An incubation temperature of 37 °C (98.6 °F) for 24 hours is recommended.

Activate Technology

After incubation, here is where the technology comes in. The operator will push down the top of the tube to release the activator and place the tube in the analyzer.


Once the technology is activated, and the patented solution is released into the tube, the operator merely needs to place the tube into the analyzer. Results are available in just 10 seconds.

How Does this New Salmonella Detection Tool Work?

How can such a complicated test be performed by non-scientists, on-site, and so rapidly?

This new Salmonella detection tool works with the enzymes that microorganisms naturally produce. The incubation step allows time for any potential microbes to reproduce in optimal conditions. This increases the concentration of those enzymes in the test tube.

Once the button in the top of the test tube is pushed, the activator releases into the solution.

NEMIS Technologies uses a patented technology they call AquaSparkTM  that “spits” when it comes into contact with the enzyme. This results in an emission of photons that a simple light sensor, like the one in the analyzer, can measure.

Put simply. If there is light, there is likely bacteria in the sample. The analyzer has specialized light measuring devices inside that detect this event.

This detection technology allows for more samples to be taken and enables more thorough swabbing of positive areas that should be sent to a laboratory for confirmatory testing.

Does This New Salmonella Detection Tool Really Work?

This new Salmonella detection tool sounds almost too good to be true.

Does it really work?

A recent study published in The International Journal of Analytic Sciences, a AOAC (Association of Official Analytical Chemists) International publication, indicated favorable results.

While the study comes from the NEMIS Technologies research in Switzerland, it cites reviews from other sources. This includes the independent lab, Q Laboratories (a lab located in Cincinnati, Ohio) and several American, Independent Consultant, reviewers. One of which is from the US Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition out of Maryland.

This research compared the N-Light assay used in the new Salmonella detection tool to current approved Salmonella ssp detection protocols for common food surfaces such as stainless steel, plastic, and ceramic.

According to the results, testing procedues detected all Salmonella strains using the new technology, including S. bongori and S. enterica. The results also identified a “low positive signal” for related strains.

It did not, however, detect 32 other strains of non-Salmonella bacteria, such as E. coli. The N-Light Salmonella assay is designed to detect Salmonella bacteria. Other testing assays are needed to detect other potential pathogens in the food manufacturing environment.

Other Pathogen Technologies in the Works

This technology is not limited to Salmonella. The AquaSparkTM activator technology could be modified to respond to the enzymes produced by other bacteria, parasite, virus, or fungi pathogens.

This new Salmonella detection tool could make a huge impact on how food manufacturers detect contamination at their facility.


The author, Heather Van Tassell, and the publisher, The Lange Law Firm, PLLC, have not been compensated in any way by NEMIS Technologies for writing this informational piece. The purpose of this content was to discuss how new technology can shape contamination monitoring practices in food manufacturing facilities. Other companies may also be working toward the same goal.

Want to Know More About Food Safety in the News?

If you’d like to know more about food safety in the news, like New Salmonella Detection Tool Could Change Food Manufacturer’s Safety Protocols, check out the Make Food Safe Blog. We regularly update trending topics, foodborne infections in the news, recalls, and more! Stay tuned for quality information to help keep your family safe, while The Lange Law Firm, PLLC strives to Make Food Safe!