ASSURED Point-of-Need Food Safety Screening: A Critical Assessment of Portable Food Analyzers

Safiye Jafari, Julian Guercetti, Ariadni Geballa-Koukoula, Aristeidis S. Tsagkaris, Joost L.D. Nelis, Marco M. Pilar, Pablo Salvador, Arjen Gerssen, Jana Hajslova, Chris Elliott, Katrina Campbell, Davide Migliorelli, Loïc Burr, Silvia Generelli*, Michel W.F. Nielen, Shana J. Sturla*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Standard methods for chemical food safety testing in official laboratories rely largely on liquid or gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry. Although these methods are considered the gold standard for quantitative confirmatory analysis, they require sampling, transferring the samples to a central laboratory to be tested by highly trained personnel, and the use of expensive equipment. Therefore, there is an increasing demand for portable and handheld devices to provide rapid, efficient, and on-site screening of food contaminants. Recent technological advancements in the field include smartphone-based, microfluidic chip-based, and paper-based devices integrated with electrochemical and optical biosensing platforms. Furthermore, the potential application of portable mass spectrometers in food testing might bring the confirmatory analysis from the laboratory to the field in the future. Although such systems open new promising possibilities for portable food testing, few of these devices are commercially available. To understand why barriers remain, portable food analyzers reported in the literature over the last ten years were reviewed. To this end, the analytical performance of these devices and the extent they match the World Health Organization benchmark for diagnostic tests, i.e., the Affordable, Sensitive, Specific, User-friendly, Rapid and Robust, Equipment-free, and Deliverable to end-users (ASSURED) criteria, was evaluated critically. A five-star scoring system was used to assess their potential to be implemented as food safety testing systems. The main findings highlight the need for concentrated efforts towards combining the best features of different technologies, to bridge technological gaps and meet commercialization requirements. View Full-Text
Original languageEnglish
Article number1399
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2021


  • ASSURED criteria
  • Electrochemical biosensor
  • Food safety
  • Lab-on-a-chip
  • Microfluidic device
  • Optical biosensor
  • Point-of-need
  • Portable food analyzer
  • Portable mass spectrometer
  • Smartphone-based biosensor


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