Pork - it may be the meat of kings but for the 1/4 of the world's population who practice Islam, it's anathema. It's also a big problem since modern food technology relies on minuscule amounts of ingredients that may be acceptable to some, but proscribed in any quantity for others.
Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo is a leading Japanese precious metals trader, refiner and manufacturer with a robust research arm, and its the latter that has made news with their development of a quick, easy, reliable pork detection kit. According to TKK's press release (PDF), the kit uses colloidal gold nanoparticles suspended in liquid that provide visual immunochromatographic assays in just 15 minutes. The testing can be done anywhere, anytime, and will differentiate between (for example) pork and beef as shown in the graphic below.
The sensitivity of the kit is such that even accidental contamination of foodstuffs on an extremely small scale can be detected. This will be of great interest both to food processors in Islamic nations and to companies seeking to do business in countries with significant Muslim populations.
As well, the kit's ability to note the presence of beef would be of interest to companies providing foods to Hindu buyers whose religion prohibits the consumption of beef. One can even extrapolate the concept to appeal to strict Vegans who prefer not to eat meat of ANY kind.
The Tanaka Precious Metals division of Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo is scheduled to demonstrate their new Pork Testing Kits at the 2010 Japan Meat Industry Fair. The event is being held this year from April 7th to April 9th inclusive at Tokyo Big Sight.
Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo has high hopes for the success of the Pork Detection Kits, predicting sales of 30,000 test kits each month over the first year rising to 100,000 kits per month thereafter. (via Gizmowhiz, top image via Satan's Laundromat)