Oculer system could save dairy industry €200m

Employment, Life sciences and energy | Mon 14 Dec | Author – Business & Finance
Technopath Oculer
Joey English, micro technician, Oculer shows Minister of Environment, Community and Local Government Alan Kelly some of the processes at Oculer

The Ballina-based dairy technology company, Oculer, has revealed a groundbreaking system for detecting thermoduric bacteria in dairy products that will save the dairy industry in Ireland up to €200m annually through reduced farmer penalties, superior product shelf-life and enhanced protein concentration.

The Oculer technology will cut detection times for thermoduric bacteria from the current global standard of 72 hours to 24 hours, with an alarm to signal potential risk of the presence of the bacteria triggered in as little as six hours.

The company has stated it will create at least 20 jobs in sales, R&D and engineering over the next two years.

Oculer, a spin-off from the Technopath Group, is already reporting a very strong level of interest in its new technology from several of the largest industry players around the world.

Thermoduric bacteria is naturally occurring bacteria that survive the pasteurisation process and are responsible for downstream issues such as spoilage of finished products, reduced shelf-life and reduced protein concentrations.

Launching the product, Minister for Environment Alan Kelly said: “Oculer’s achievement in this international breakthrough for microbiology diagnostics is huge validation of Ireland’s place as a global leader in dairying. With sales of dairy products forecasted to reach $494bn in 2015, this breakthrough has the potential to reach into every single market in the world. At a local level I am immensely proud that one such company is here on our own doorstep and have been delighted to work with the team here over the past two years as they build towards this monumental day that will bring positive change for the industry across the world.”

Simon Coveney, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, commented: “Oculer’s new technology to detect and enumerate thermoduric bacteria in milk promises to reinforce Ireland’s acknowledged reputation as a premium dairy producer in international markets. Oculer’s cutting-edge technology stands to reduce costs for all of the industry’s stakeholders while boosting Ireland’s work in selling our milk and dairy products with confidence.

Brian Byrne, CEO of Oculer, added: “Not only will test results be available to milk suppliers in 24 hours, Oculer will enable co-ops and dairy processors to react faster to positive results than they currently can by using the traditional agar method – but it also informs milk farmers where the source of the problem originated. Thermoduric bacteria can only be effectively eliminated when the source of the problem is accurately and reliably identified.”