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U.S. food safety testing market to surge 38% by 2015

It should come as little surprise that the food safety testing market will grow "stupendously" in the coming years

In light of the ongoing crackdown by the Food and Drug Administration on tainted weight loss and body building products - as well as the August recall of 550 million eggs due to Salmonella contamination - it should come as little surprise that the food safety testing market will grow "stupendously" in the coming years.

In fact, it is predicted to grow a whopping 38% by 2015.

"The U.S. food safety testing market was worth $3.4 billion in 2010 and is anticipated to reach around $4.7 billion by 2015," said Shushmul Maheshwari, chief executive of global market research firm RNCOS, based in India. "Because food imported from around the world constitutes a substantial and increasing percentage of the U.S. food supply, this will lead to technological innovation in areas such as rapid testing and complex sensors."

Pathogen testing was the largest segment of U.S. food safety testing in 2010, at 88 percent, followed by GMO testing with a 3 percent share.

According to RNCOS, in its new report on "Global Food Safety Testing," the United States now trades with more than 150 countries; food products enter the country via more than 300 ports. This is three times as many points of entry that were in use a decade ago.

According to the USDA Economic Research Service, some 15 percent of the overall U.S. food supply by volume is now imported, but in some categories, that figure is much higher. "For example, about 60 percent of fresh fruits and vegetables are imported, and 75 percent of seafood is imported," Maheshwari said.

Food borne diseases cause approximately 76 million illnesses, including 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths, each year in the United States. Typical pathogens include E. coli, campylobacter, listeria and salmonella.

The impact of these illnesses is estimated to cost between $5.6 and $9.4 billion.

Increasingly, food manufacturers are turning to on-site testing for pathogens - both because of the implementation of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) and other regulations, as well as the fact the results are available more quickly.

Key players in the U.S. food safety testing market are Agilent Technologies, whose U.S. operations are headquartered in Santa Clara, California; and Celsis International, headquartered in Chicago.

Europe currently dominates the global market for food safety testing products, followed by the United States. Asia-Pacific is the fastest-growing region, however.


U.S.: Number of Food-borne Disease Cases by Pathogens (2009)

Pathogen Number of Cases










STEC* O157


STEC non-O157















Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Note: Data is estimated

* = Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli

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