New technology could offer cheaper, faster food testing

The new test involves using specialized droplets that bind together in a specific way if harmful bacteria are present. The result can be detected by either the naked eye or a smartphone.
Updated 09 May 2017
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New technology could offer cheaper, faster food testing

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a new sensor that uses smartphone technology to detect harmful bacteria in food, including Escherichia coli (E.coli). The sensor was developed by the research lab of Timothy Swager, the John D. MacArthur professor of chemistry at MIT, in a project supported by MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab (J-WAFS) Solutions program.
J-WAFS Solutions is sponsored by Community Jameel, and aims to help MIT faculty and students commercialize breakthrough technologies and inventions that have applications for critical food and water challenges.
Current food safety testing often involves culturing food samples to see if harmful bacterial colonies grow, but that process can take as long as two to three days and is generally conducted offsite in specialist labs.
The new test involves using specialized droplets that bind together in a specific way if harmful bacteria are present. The result can be detected by either the naked eye or a smartphone, offering faster and cheaper food safety testing that could be carried out onsite.
According to the World Health Organization, one in ten people fall ill every year from eating contaminated food and 420,000 die as a result. Children under five years of age are at particularly high risk, with 125,000 children dying from foodborne diseases every year.
Providing a cheaper and more accessible technology could allow early detection of foodborne pathogens from producer to consumer, reducing the risk to the public of consuming contaminated food.
The J-WAFS was created at MIT to spearhead research that will help humankind adapt to a rapidly changing planet and combat world-wide water scarcity and food supply. In addition, the lab elevates MIT’s commitment to addressing the collective pressure of population growth, urbanization, and climate variability — factors that endanger food and water systems in developing and developed countries alike.


LuLu opens Saudi Arabia’s largest store in Riyadh

Updated 21 July 2018
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LuLu opens Saudi Arabia’s largest store in Riyadh

JEDDAH: LuLu Group recently opened its 150th hypermarket in Riyadh. It was inaugurated by Ibrahim Al-Omer, governor of Saudi General Investment Authority (SAGIA); Ibrahim Al-Suwail, deputy governor of SAGIA; along with Sheikh Shakhbout bin Nahyan Al-Nahyan, UAE ambassador to Saudi Arabia; Yusuff Ali M.A., LuLu Group chairman; Shehim Mohammed, LuLu Saudi director; and other dignitaries and royal family members.
Located at the newly launched Atyaf Mall in Yarmouk, the hypermarket, the 13th in the country and the Kingdom’s largest, is spread across 220,000-square-feet.
Yusuff Ali M.A. said: “We are absolutely delighted to open our group’s 150th and Saudi Arabia’s 13 hypermarket in Riyadh and I am sure the shoppers here will be pleased by the new retail experience we have created. Through our internationally sourced quality products and enthusiastic staff, LuLu has been the most preferred destination for different nationalities and we will continue to preserve this identity with our new store.”
He added: “We see tremendous growth opportunities in the Kingdom and are glad to be part of the Vision 2030 by further expanding our presence here. We will open another 15 hypermarkets by 2020 at an investment of SR1 billion ($266 million) out of which five will be opened this year itself. This includes three hypermarkets in Riyadh followed by one each in Tabuk and Dammam. This is apart from the SR1 billion we have already invested in the Kingdom till now.”
The group currently employs more than 3,000 Saudi nationals, out of which 1,400 are women, amounting to 40 percent of Saudization.
“Our goal is to give employment to 6,000 Saudi nationals by the end of 2020. We have a very elaborate and effective multi-level training program, through which we not only train them here but also send the local recruits to other regions in the GCC and India for training in various departments. We have also tied up with Saudi vocational institutions and universities in this regard,” the LuLu Group chairman said.