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Neogen's AccuPoint2 System Uses RFID to Help Verify Food Safety
RFID ensures that food producers test a random sampling of equipment for the presence of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a chemical that serves as an indicator of how thoroughly an area has been cleaned.
Therefore, Topper says, he and Robert Soule, Neogen's product manager for the AccuPoint line, began considering ways in which RFID could help improve the process. Since 2012, the company has been offering an RFID option for users of its AccuPoint HC testing equipment for the health-care market. In this case, a worker utilizes the handheld AccuPoint HC device to measure the ATP level within a hospital room after a patient has been released, but would use high-frequency (HF) 13.56 MHz passive RFID tags and readers and Neogen's software to determine which surface to test. Tags are affixed outside of patient room doors. A user taps the RFID-enabled version of the AccuPoint HC device against the tag, and the device's built-in RFID reader captures that tag's ID number. The device's firmware identifies the room and pinpoints which surfaces had been recently inspected, then lists instructions indicating which surface (such as a bed rail or a door knob) to test.
"We wrestled with the idea of RFID and how it could be used in food safety," Topper states. Neogen began building RFID readers (designed by Neogen and made with a Texas Instruments TRF 7960 reader chip) into its AccuPoint2 devices to be used for food safety. The RFID-enabled version of the AccuPoint2 was released in July 2013, and is presently being used by companies that make a variety of food products.
For customers, Topper says, the RFID technology ensures that users have a full sample of all sites being tested on a regular basis, which can then be collected and analyzed, or be presented to customers or government inspectors. Analysis can include monthly averages, or production lines that have a higher percentage of failed tests, as well as when those failures occurred. Neogen, however, continues to offer a non-RFID version of the AccuPoint2 system as well.
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