Everything you always wanted to know about FreshDetect

Do you have general questions about FreshDetect? Perhaps you can find the answers in our FAQs.

The measurement method

You can use the freshdetect BFD-100 portable handheld device to measure the bacterial burden in fresh meat. Although the device has been on the market since the summer of 2017, it has undergone a series of tests since 2016 that are carried out in conjunction with quality-focused companies in the meat industry. We currently offer software datasets for various types of meat. Other datasets for detecting TVC are under development. We are also developing a technology for detecting TVC through transparent packaging (MAP, vacuum).

If you are interested in the product or wish to discuss other application possibilities with us, feel free to leave your contact information here. We will get in touch with you as soon as possible. You can also call us direct at +49 (0)89 324 939 225.

The device can be used to test the following types and cuts of meat:

Measurement range
Fresh pork loin 102 – 106 available
Fresh ground beef 103 – 109
Fresh ground pork
Fresh ground meat (mixed)
Ground meat in modified atmosphere packaging
Fresh pork from the topside with membrane removed 102 – 108 available
Fresh pork from the sliverside with membrane removed 102 – 108 available
Fresh boneless chicken breast
102 – 108 available

We are currently working on software datasets for other types of meat such as beef and poultry. Measurements on frozen or pre-processed and seasoned meat are also conceivable. Discussions are currently underway with interested parties to specify and narrow down the exact requirements.

The current plan is limited to calibration datasets for testing fresh meat. Theoretically, the measurements could be expanded to other objects. If there is interest, we would be happy to discuss whether your specific needs can be covered with the freshdetect BFD-100 and whether a joint development project is feasible.

The BFD-100 portable device measures the total viable count in fresh meat, offering measurement accuracy comparable to conventional microbiological tests. The BFD-100 also has an integrated IR sensor for measuring the temperature of the meat. Plans are in place to add color detection, but this function has yet to be implemented.

The device determines the bacterial burden in meat by means of fluorescence spectroscopy. Individual datasets are required for the various types and cuts of meats. These datasets are generated from the measured fluorescence spectrum, as well as from conventional laboratory tests, using statistical methods. The resulting forecast model makes it possible to detect the total viable count directly on site.

Measurements can be carried out directly on site where the meat is processed, or in the receiving or shipping areas. The BFD-100 probe is placed directly on the surface of the meat, or when the technology is available, on the packaging film. The test lasts less than five seconds, after which the result is shown on the display. An acoustic alarm is also generated once the measurement is complete. With a fully-charged battery, the device can conduct and store the results of up to 2,000 measurements. The measurement values can be transmitted at any time to a commercially-available, Windows-based PC using the software delivered with the device. The measurement data (measurement ID, total viable count, time and day) can be imported into Excel for instance.

No special training is required to use the freshdetect BFD-100. With the enclosed product description, users can normally learn how to operate the device within just a few minutes.

Important: The BFD-100 probe uses a diode to emit a class 3R, visible laser light with a wavelength in the 405nm range. For this reason you should consult with your laser safety representative prior to operating the device. Never look directly at the laser beam. The probe is the only opening from which a laser beam is emitted. The device is otherwise enclosed and contains no parts that require configuration or maintenance by the user.

A function test should be performed on a daily basis. This test, which normally takes less than five minutes based on our experience, can be performed by the user with the reflection and fluorescent standards supplied with the device. The accessories that are required to carry out the calibration are included in the delivery.

We also recommend sending the device to FreshDetect GmbH for maintenance once a year. If you need a replacement device during this period, please let us know.

The freshdetect BFD-100 portable measurement device is calibrated with an operating temperature range of 2° to 10°C, but can be stored in temperatures between -10°C and 30°C. It’s recommended to place the device in the test area at least 30 minutes prior to carrying out measurements to ensure that it is properly acclimated.

Numerous test measurements were carried out together with the Leibniz Institute for Agriculture Technology ATB in Potsdam-Bornim and the Universities of Bonn and Bayreuth over the course of developing the freshdetect BFD-100. These tests demonstrated a positive correlation between the BFD-100 measurement results and those using the conventional spatula method in line with §64 of the German Food and Feed Code (LFBG).

It takes three to five seconds to perform a measurement, after which the results are immediately displayed and stored in the device.

The BFD-100 outputs and stores the total viable count (TVC), temperature, date and time and a sequential test number for each measurement. The data is initially stored in the device’s internal memory. Up to 2,000 measurements can be stored. The data can also be transmitted to a PC via a USB cable.

The freshdetect BFD-100 is the first portable device that easily and precisely analyzes the bacterial burden in fresh meat and determines the total viable count, all in a matter of seconds. Since the freshdetect BFD-100 measurements are non-invasive, significantly more tests can be carried out without affecting the product. And because the results are available within seconds, companies can immediately decide how to further handle the meat products (i.e. reject spoiled products) or implement other measures, such as improving hygiene in the process. Since there are virtually no on-going costs to operate the freshdetect BFD-100, and given that the device is very simple to use, testing and monitoring can be carried out nearly anywhere, and at any time, even spontaneously. This leads to lower costs (avoiding product recalls, rejecting spoiled products) and improved product quality.

We currently offer software datasets for detecting TVC for various ground meat products, as well as common fresh pork products. The goal is to also offer the capability to perform non-invasive TVC measurements in vacuum- and modified-atmospheric-packaged meats.

The front side of the measurement probe has direct contact with the meat. To avoid spreading bacteria from one measurement point to another and causing cross-contamination, the measurement probe should be cleaned with commercially-available alcohol wipes. The rest of the freshdetect BFD-100 portable measurement device can also be easily cleaned with alcohol wipes.

ROI/operating costs

For further information about the product, please contact FreshDetect GmbH at or use our contact form. Delivery includes the freshdetect BFD-100 portable measurement device, analysis software, functional test kit, battery charger, protective goggles and a carrying case.

Please contact FreshDetect GmbH at or use our contact form.

Laboratory testing can cost up to €20 per meat sample, in addition to the time and effort involved in taking and transporting the sample (approx. €15 per sample). If only 15 measurements a day are carried out, the amortization period for the BFD-100 is less than one month.

More important than the cost per test is the speed however. The BFD-100 makes it possible to measure the TVC directly on the meat in real-time, without long delays in receiving the results. This opens up completely new opportunities for controlling and improving hygiene in slaughter and meat packing operations.

The aim is to certify the freshdetect BFD-100 portable measurement device as an EN ISO 16140 approved method. At the moment however, the test results from the freshdetect BFD-100 cannot be used to replace the microbiological test method specified in §64 of the German Food and Feed Act (LFGB), or the samples required in EN ISO 17604:2015.

The BFD-100 primarily offers a way to easily and quickly measure the total viable count with a high degree of accuracy and thus improve internal quality control processes in slaughter and meat packing operations. The device can also be used for on-the-spot quality control in receiving and shipping.

Because the freshdetect BFD-100 measurement is still not an approved method in accordance with §64 of the German Food and Safety Act (LFGB), the issue of legal compliance is difficult to answer. The key here is recognition of the measurement results through the courts and whether the method represents a reliable method for determining the TVC. The method’s fundamental suitability for determining the total viable count in fresh meat has already been documented in several scientific publications. In addition, we are currently working with accredited, independent laboratories that are active in the area of food analysis to develop expert opinions on the utilization of the calibration data sets. We are also working together with a well-known law firm with expertise in the food industry to develop a legal assessment regarding the utilization of our measurement results for internal quality control purposes.

The on-going costs are minimal. The BFD-100 uses no materials, other than what is required to clean the device in between measurements. Commercially-available alcohol wipes suffice to keep the device clean. The device can be operated for several hours using the integrated lithium-ion battery without connecting to the power network. The regular function tests also require no additional materials. The reflection and fluorescent standards are delivered with the device. Software updates are required from time to time. We recommend an annual maintenance check, including battery replacement and updating the software.

The device is sent to FreshDetect once a year for maintenance, battery replacement and a software update. The measurement probe should be cleaned after each measurement. The rest of the device should be cleaned at least once a day. Cleaning requires only commercially-available alcohol wipes. The function test should be carried out once each day before the first measurement. The test usually takes less than one minute and can be performed by the user.


The freshdetect BFD-100 can currently be ordered direct from FreshDetect GmbH. In the future it will be available through sales outlets designated on our website. Please contact us at or call us at +49 (0)89 324 939 225.

Maintenance and service is offered through FreshDetect GmbH. We can be reached via e-mail at:

Several leading meat packing companies have already purchased the freshdetect BFD-100 portable measurement device. An overview of our reference customers and partners is available on our website.

The BFD-100 portable measurement device was developed by FreshDetect GmbH, in close cooperation with the German National Institute for Nourishment and Food (BLE), the University of Bayreuth and industry partners.

The core components of the freshdetect BFD-100 are supplied by select companies in Germany, all of who meet our high standards for quality. Assembly is carried out by our partner company in southern Germany. This allows us to manufacture the product with consistently high quality and ensure short delivery times when purchasing new products, replacing components and performing repairs.

We still haven’t answered your question? Then get in touch with us. We will be glad to help.