Pathogen and toxin-contaminated foods and beverages are a major source of illnesses, even death, and have a significant economic impact worldwide. Human health is always under a potential threat, including from biological warfare, due to these dangerous pathogens. The agricultural and food production chain consists of many steps such as harvesting, handling, processing, packaging, storage, distribution, preparation, and consumption. Each step is susceptible to threats of environmental contamination or failure to safeguard the processes. The production process can be controlled in the food and agricultural sector, where smart sensors can play a major role, ensuring greater food quality and safety by low cost, fast, reliable, and profitable methods of detection. Techniques for the detection of pathogens and toxins may vary in cost, size, and specificity, speed of response, sensitivity, and precision. Smart sensors can detect, analyse and quantify at molecular levels contents of different biological origin and ensure quality of foods against spiking with pesticides, fertilizers, dioxin, modified organisms, anti-nutrients, allergens, drugs and so on. This paper reviews different methodologies to detect pathogens and toxins in foods and beverages.
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- Bacterial infection
- Chemical sensors
- Smart sensors