The device is one of many innovations developed by the agency.
WASHINGTON – Researchers with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Beltsville, Maryland have developed a hand-held imaging device that detects contaminated food and equipment surfaces, the US Dept. of Agriculture said in its annualTechnology Transfer Report.

Currently, conditions in slaughter plants are not ideal for using conventional fluorescent detection methods that require ambient darkness. The hand-held fluorescence-based imaging device (HFID) can highlight contaminated food and equipment surfaces on a display monitor during use under ambient lighting. A study of the device “… assessed the effectiveness of the HFID to enhance visual detection of fecal contamination on red meat, fat, and bone surfaces of beef under varying ambient luminous intensities,” according to the USDA. “Overall, diluted feces were detectable on the beef surfaces under all but the brightest ambient light intensities tested in the fluorescence images.”

USDA said the HFID is patented and under license and commercial development by an industry partner. The device is among 244 innovations and 109 patent applications generated from USDA research in the 2016 fiscal year.

“USDA’s made-in-America research gives us new technology that creates business opportunities and private sector jobs in both agriculture and other sectors,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said. “Studies show that every dollar invested in agricultural research returns $20 to our economy. Just like the crops that come up out of our soil, these inventions and innovations were made in America.”