Another year has passed and it is time for us to thank all of you for joining us on our journey to progress food safety for our partners and public health. We’d like to also take this opportunity to update you on some of the major events for IEH during the past year.
This past year the IEH family of companies has continued to grow. IEH now employs more than 1,800 employees in eight countries (Australia, Austria, Canada, China, England, Germany, Mexico, and the USA). We’ve recently completed the acquisition of eight companies: Sample6, Roka Bioscience, Unitech, Toximet, Biomerx Laboratorium GmbH, VIL Institut fur Lebensmittelsicherheit, Labor Iben GmbH, and Iben Mikro Stop GmbH. The Roka and Sample6 acquisitions have allowed us to expand our capabilities in rapid pathogen detection and automation. We have now validated both systems for the detection of Listeria in food samples after only 10-15 hours of enrichment, and same day results are available for environmental samples.
Our research scientists have been busy continuing to work on problems of interest to the food industry. We were awarded four new patents, applied for four more, and gained the rights to additional patents through our acquisitions. IEH scientists published 10 peer reviewed papers in 2017, among them a report on our discovery of a new bacterial species that we characterized and named Clostridium tepidum.
We are also pleased to expand our expertise by welcoming new experts to the IEH family. This year we are pleased to welcome John Larkin (formerly Research Director at University of Minnesota and before that Associate Director of Research at FDA), Will Daniels (formerly Chief Food Integrity Officer of Earthbound) and Cindy Ryan (formerly with Nestle) to join IEH.
This past year we have significantly expanded our manufacturing and engineering departments. We are now manufacturing test kits for pathogen detection (bacterial, viral and protozoan parasites), food allergens, DNA and RNA isolation kits, immuno-affinity columns, and bacteriological media. In addition, we completed our work on the Microfilm indicator system for APC, TCC, ECC, and Yeasts & Mold. The Microfilm system has received AOAC accreditation and is now in use in IEH laboratories. We have also commercialized the second generation of IEH air samplers, an IEH PCR Microcycler, and IEH stomacher, and wireless data loggers which are suitable for us in incubators, refrigerators, and freezers.
IEH is on the cutting edge of next generation sequencing for epidemiology and microbial source tracking. We have continued to expand our capabilities in whole genome sequencing, metagenomics, nutritional and trace chemical contaminants testing (pesticides, veterinary residues, organic pollutants and heavy metals). We have developed a variety of new food applications. These include cause of spoilage analysis, shelf-life extension, assessment of pathogenicity, and microbial toxic testing (C. botulinum, C. perfringens). Last, we have continued to put more resources into data analytics tools for our partners.
Going forward, these changes are enhancing our ability to comprehensively support our partners and help us provide the highest quality services for the production of wholesome foods and protecting public health while progressing the industry as a whole.
It is our hope that everyone enjoys the holidays with their family and friends, and accepts our warmest wishes for happiness, success, and health in the New Year.