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Microbiological Tests and Kits: The Latest Advances
by Geoff Giordano
It’s been almost a year since the E. coli outbreak that originated in Germany in May last year killed more than 40 people. The frenzy to identify the strain responsible — the relatively rare O104:H4 — helped point out the increasing need for rapid and reliable pathogen testing in the food industry.
Since that crisis and numerous others — including the Listeria outbreak that the CDC reports killed 30 people who ate cantaloupes grown in Colorado— firms have scrambled to release new assays that promise quick and accurate results and help ensure product safety. Of particular concern are the so-called “Big Six” non-O157 strains of E. coli, which the USDA will require beef companies to ensure don’t adulterate their products.
As Barbara Robleto of DuPont Qualicon notes in her article “Outbreaks Spur Rapid STEC Tests” on Page 11: “Increasing regulations will certainly have a major impact on how food companies operate. They will also drive the need for new tests that will help make it faster, easier, and more convenient for food companies to meet these new directives.”
That’s where DuPont and other companies like Advanced Instruments and Bio-Rad come in to meet the challenge. With faster cycle times, complementary software to speed analyses, or tools to help screeners differentiate among pathogens, the current crop of tests provides 21st-century solutions to combating age-old enemies.
2000 Alfred Nobel Dr.
Hercules, CA 94547
Bio-Rad has a full range of iQ-CheckTM real-time PCR test kits including our newest STEC solution kit. All kits involved shortened enrichment times, including our 24 hour Listeria spp. test. Patented real-time probe technology provides the high level of sensitivity and specificity needed of pathogen detection assays.www.foodscience.bio-rad.com
PO Box 80400
Wilmington, DE 19880
Ready for STEC testing? The BAX® System STEC suite is aligned with the FSIS method—including a screener to quickly rule out negative samples, and two panels to detect and differentiate the top six serogroups—for fast and accurate detection of pathogenic non-O157 STEC. www2.dupont.com/Qualicon/en_US/products/
Advanced Instruments Inc.
Advanced Instruments Inc.
Two Technology Way
Norwood, MA 02062
The Autoplate SPS features 50 percent faster cycle times–about 35 seconds as opposed to one minute–a new Windows® CE-based touchscreen display, and features three new spiral plating modes. The system introduces a revolutionary new self-cleaning feature that is fast, thorough, and completely ensures no sample-to-sample contamination. www.aicompanies.com/index.cfm/products/?productId=49
Geoff Giordano, veteran editor of numerous newspapers and magazines, has been acting editor-in-chief of Food Quality magazine since February 2011. Contact him at email@example.com to contribute/suggest stories or provide feedback about the magazine.