Food safety is of obvious importance, but there are frequent problems caused by foodborne pathogens that threaten the safety and health of human beings worldwide. Although the most classic method for detecting bacteria is the plate counting method, it takes almost three to seven days to get the bacterial results for the detection. Additionally, there are many existing technologies for accurate determination of pathogens, such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR), enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), or loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP), but they are not suitable for timely and rapid on-site detection due to time-consuming pretreatment, complex operations and false positive results. Therefore, an urgent goal remains to determine how to quickly and effectively prevent and control the occurrence of foodborne diseases that are harmful to humans. As an alternative, microfluidic devices with miniaturization, portability and low cost have been introduced for pathogen detection. In particular, the use of microfluidic technologies is a promising direction of research for this purpose. Herein, this article systematically reviews the use of microfluidic technology for the rapid and sensitive detection of foodborne pathogens. First, microfluidic technology is introduced, including the basic concepts, background, and the pros and cons of different starting materials for specific applications. Next, the applications and problems of microfluidics for the detection of pathogens are discussed. The current status and different applications of microfluidic-based technologies to distinguish and identify foodborne pathogens are described in detail. Finally, future trends of microfluidics in food safety are discussed to provide the necessary foundation for future research efforts.
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