The new testing tool detects four of the most common contaminants in drinks; heterotrophic count, coliform, yeast and mold, and enterobacteriaceae.
3M developed the tool as an alternative to agar petri dishes. The company claims that the traditional approach of manufacturers using their own agars or purchasing premade dishes produces excessive waste and requires large investment in employee time and refrigeration space.
It argues that the new Petrifilm Aqua Plates provides a reliable and simple way to test product safety, saving beverage bottling companies time and money.
“The plates are easy to use and offer quality assurance professionals the opportunity to streamline their testing process,” said Eric Amann, global marketing development manager, 3M Food Safety.
Amann told this publication that the main target market for the 3M Petrifilm Aqua Plates would be the bottled water industry but that the product will also be of benefit to makers of soft drinks like teas and carbonated drinks.
3M introduced its first plate for the food industry 26 years ago and is only now targeting the beverage market directly. It said the new product launch comes two years after 3M Food Safety was formed as an independent business unit within 3M.
Amann said the creation of the subsidiary brought additional funding and focus on new segments such as beverage.
He said adapting its existing technology to the needs of the beverage safety market brought with it some additional challenges.
“The main challenge was ensuring that the plate performs well with a membrane filter placed on it. The presence of the membrane filter introduces a new material into the equation of growing detecting colony forming units on the plate.”