December 9, 2023

Food Pathogen Testing Market Grows Amid Rising Foodborne Illness Concerns and Pandemic Impact

The global food pathogen testing market is experiencing substantial growth due to the increasing incidence of foodborne illnesses, which pose significant public health concerns worldwide. Foodborne illnesses, though largely preventable, can lead to life-threatening and costly consequences. According to the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 48 million cases of illnesses caused by food pathogens occur globally each year, resulting in 3,000 deaths and 128,000 hospitalizations. Notably, foodborne illnesses associated with pathogens such as Salmonella, Campylobacter, Yersinia, and Shigella witnessed a rapid increase until 2020, necessitating effective testing methods for pathogens in food. Despite a temporary slowdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, this need continues to drive the growth of the food pathogen testing market.

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Global Food Pathogen Testing Market

The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on foodborne illnesses. Prior to 2020, the prevalence of foodborne illnesses was a prominent concern. However, during the pandemic, the incidence of such illnesses decreased considerably. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there was a 26% reduction in reported cases of foodborne illnesses in 2020. SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, played a substantial role in this decline. Government interventions, including restrictions on international travel and restaurant closures, reduced the consumption of processed and restaurant-prepared foods.

Additionally, heightened awareness of the SARS-CoV-2 virus prompted consumers to shift toward homemade and healthier food choices, leading to a decrease in the number of foodborne illnesses. However, some pathogens such as Cyclospora, Yersinia, and Salmonella Infantis infections remained prevalent due to pre-pandemic factors. With the easing of pandemic restrictions, the probability of foodborne illnesses is expected to increase in the coming years, partially reversing the trend observed during the pandemic.

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Meat Product Testing: A Significant Contributor to Market Growth

The demand for food pathogen testing methods and kits related to meat and poultry consumption is expected to steadily increase. Testing for common contaminants such as Salmonella, E. Coli, and Shiga Toxin-producing E. Coli (STEC) is poised for growth due to their severe health effects on consumers. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 10% of individuals with STEC infections are at risk of developing Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome (HUS), with a mortality rate of 3%-5%. STEC infections can also lead to neurological complications in 25% of HUS-affected individuals and chronic renal complications in 50% of survivors. Given these risks, food pathogen testing of meat products is expected to increase worldwide.

North America to Lead the Food Pathogen Testing Market

Developed economies in North America are expected to demonstrate high growth potential in the food pathogen testing market, primarily due to the prevalence of foodborne illnesses in the region. According to the CDC, the United States alone witnesses approximately 9.6 million cases of foodborne illnesses caused by pathogens each year, resulting in 1,500 deaths and 57,500 hospital admissions. With one in six U.S. citizens affected by contaminated food products and beverages annually, the cost of treating foodborne illnesses exceeds $15.6 billion per year, as reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This marks a significant increase compared to the 2013-2018 period when the estimated cost was around $2 billion. Stringent government regulations on food safety and proactive measures have been implemented, contributing to the growth of the food pathogen testing market. For example, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) introduced new safety standards, including public notices, sampling, and recalls of food products with potential health risks. In 2021, CFIA recalled various frozen mangoes and mango chunks due to Hepatitis A contamination.

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Global Food Pathogen Testing Market: Competitive Landscape

Key players in the food pathogen testing market are actively focusing on partnerships and launching effective food pathogen testing kits to meet the growing global demand. For example, Sanigen and Illumina formed a partnership in 2021 to develop Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) panels capable of efficiently detecting 16 types of foodborne pathogens from 400 samples. In 2020, ThermoFisher Scientific introduced SureTect PCR assays for food pathogen testing, particularly for Salmonella, offering a wide range of tests.

Prominent players in the food pathogen testing market include SGS SA, Eurofins Scientific, Microbac Laboratories, ALS Limited, and Bureau Veritas..

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This press release first seen on Brilad