a High specificity was confirmed by challenging the system with three other pathogens (E. coli, S. aureus, and L. monocytogenes). Only S. Enteritidis generated measurable responses. b The amount of S. Enteritidis was one-tenth of other pathogens. c Signal recovery of S. Enteritidis spiked in drinking water, 10-fold diluted milk and undiluted milk. d fluorescence growth rate (Vg) of S. Enteritidis expressed in the blind validation cohort (paired two-tailed Student’s t test, ****P < 0.0001). e Ct value for genomic DNA in S. Enteritidis of blind validation cohort (paired two-tailed Student’s t test, **P < 0.01). f ROC curve analysis of blind validation cohort. Data represent mean ± s.d., n = 3, three technical replicates.