Nofima is home to the first process hall in Europe in which the most dangerous food-borne bacteria can be studied in a realistic production environment.

Patogen Pilot Plant

The pathogen pilot plant is Europe's first high-security processing facility. Here, researchers study life-threatening bacteria like Listeria monocytogenes and Escherichia coli (EHEC) in a realistic processing environment, to prevent serious food poisoning.

This article was last updated more than two years ago.

The safety requirements for producing life-threatening foods are very strict, and this makes the pathogen pilot plant unique. The facility is compliant with biosafety level 3 standards. That means that it is totally contained from the environment and especially designed for air treatment, waste water and waste disposal to prevent contamination to the environment.

Here it is possible to study pathogenic bacteria in food during processing, packaging and storage as well as studying effects of washing and disinfection methods.  We can study different decontamination methods like UVC, pulsed UV, ozone or compounds/additives to reduce or limit bacterial growth in food products.  New concepts can be developed in order to develop methods that ensure safe food.

New varieties of bacteria are constantly occurring. An important task is to increase knowledge about the bacterias’ ability to adapt to modified recipes and processes in food production.

Equipment in the hall

  • Meat chopper
  • Meat grinders
  • Sausage stuffers
  • Slicing Machine
  • Fermentation chambers
  • Air-o-steamer
  • Cooking equipment
  • Conveyorbelts
  • Vakuum packaging equipment
  • Modified atmosphere packaging machine
  • UV-C treatment cabinet
  • Pulse-UV treatment cabinet
  • Incubator chamber
  • Lab culture sterile bench
  • Washing machine
  • Dishwasher

Many food-borne disease outbreaks

A more globalised everyday life makes food, both as raw materials and finished products, increasingly crossing borders. Increased access to foods provides greater diversity and food pleasure, but it also increases the challenges of ensuring safe food. Therefore, decision makers, researchers and food producers must continue their cooperation in conjunction with ensuring safe food.

The pathogen pilot plant is unique since we are not restricted to model systems but can work with pathogenic bacteria using industry like machinery in ‘real world’ configurations in order to develop safe food.

The pilot plants at Ås

The Pathogen pilot plant is part of Nofima’s pilot plants at Ås, which also consists of packaging hall, vegetable hall, fish hall, meat hall and bakery. These pilot plants are a venue for research, innovation, product development, courses, networks and teaching.


The Nofima process halls at Ås are part of the National Research Infrastructure FoodPilotPlant Norway. It also includes the process facilities at NMBU (Norwegian University of Life Sciences).


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