The market scene
Manufacturing companies and governmental agencies put a great deal of effort into food safety assurance. Thanks to the latest progresses in research, hundreds of food contamination sources have been studied and well characterized. Mycotoxins, phycotoxins, pathogens and other microorganisms have mainly natural origins, while other food contaminations come from drugs and pesticides used in breeding and farming practices. Other chemicals, such as melamine, are illegally added to food. As a consequence, hundreds of molecules have been submitted to regulations, both by Codex Alimentarius and Health Ministries of different States. Toxic contaminants have been divided into two lists: one is the group of chemicals whose presence is completely forbidden, such as chloramphenicol; the other list consists of those substances whose concentration must be lower than a certain level, e.g. aflatoxins, dioxins, and antibiotic drugs such as sulphonamides. The differences in maximum allowed concentrations in single countries may prevent meat and other food sales in international markets: beta-agonists, for instance, are completely forbidden in the European Union, while in the United States of America and in other countries their use is allowed under control. Regarding feed, independent of local regulations, the main interest is in monitoring mycotoxin concentrations, since these naturally occurring chemicals can, to varying degrees, jeopardize animal health and breeding output.
Tecna develops, produces and supplies diagnostic test kits for the analysis of chemical contaminants in food and feedstuffs. Furthermore, Tecna also offers a range of instruments and services. Thanks to its highly specialised technical expertise, Tecna succeeds in meeting customers’ demands with targeted products. The employment of the best available scientific and technological resources allows the company to meet the shifting market demands.
Tecna was established in 1994 by a small group of chemists and biologists experienced in the field of immunodiagnostics. In the beginning, the main activity was focused on methods for the detection of drug residues in food. Since the year 2000 the company has been developing a wide range of test kits for the detection of mycotoxins, while in the last few years the R&D team started developing diagnostic screening tools for allergens. The Quality System was introduced in 1999 and the company has been assessed as meeting the requirements of ISO 9001 since 2001. At the moment, Tecna is certified in compliance with ISO 9001: 2008. The products are based on immunochemistry, which is the basic technology for ELISA test kits, immunoaffinity columns, lateral-flow devices and immunosensors. Currently, about 60% of our sales are for export through a worldwide network consisting of more than forty distributors.
The orientation to research and innovation is one of the most important strengths of the company. The R&D activities are not delegated to external groups, as they have been managed mainly inside the Tecna facilities since the beginning. As a result of this, professional assets of knowledge and proficiency have been gained over the years. Our whole team is very knowledge-orientated and always open to new challenges. Vendors face customers to understand their specific necessities, to learn their production processes and to identify every possible contribution to quality and safety. Customer focus is the key point. New products are not realised when a researcher develops a new method: every single new article is planned and designed in response to customers’ needs. End-users requirements are centred in the company mission. The R&D projects have been shared with research institutes and other companies situated all around the world. Tecna takes part in both local and international sponsored projects.
Tecna analytical tools are designed to meet the demands of small industries and accredited laboratories, as well as the necessities of specialists and less skilled technicians. They are therefore placed in various critical control points in different sectors: food farming and private laboratories performing analysis for HACCP programs; public laboratories carrying out analysis and official inspections, corporations supporting farmers, breeders and food processing industries. Several universities and research institutes are Tecna customers and partners for scientific collaborations. In addition to the product port-folio, Tecna supplies several instruments and services, such as training programmes dedicated to screening analytical methods. This way, Tecna know-how and experience can be shared with clients in order to support them better.