Thursday, September 2, 2010

U.S. Department of Agriculture and DuPont Collaborate on New Test for Hard to Detect Foodborne Pathogens


DuPont and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have agreed to collaborate on the development of a new test for detecting hard-to-identify strains of toxin-producing E. coli that are not currently regulated and have been causing increased instances of food contamination and illness. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimate that non-O157 STEC bacteria are responsible for 36,000 illnesses, 1,000 hospitalizations and 30 deaths annually. DuPont was among the first to develop tests for E. coli O157:H7, the type of shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) most frequently associated with global food contamination outbreaks.

The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service uses the DuPont™ BAX® System to monitor for this pathogen. In recent years, other types of STEC have been identified as agents of foodborne illness, and these are a growing concern in the United States, Europe, Japan and food safety agencies worldwide. The Agriculture Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA ARS) will collaborate with DuPont Qualicon to develop an effective test for the “Big 6” non-O157 STEC pathogens in food, and also will expand the diagnostic tools offered for use in the DuPont™ BAX® System. Food processing companies around the world rely on the BAX® System to detect pathogens or other organisms in raw ingredients, finished products and environmental samples.

The automated system uses leading-edge technology, including polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays, tableted reagents and optimized media to detect Salmonella, Listeria species, Listeria monocytogenes, E. coli O157:H7, Enterobacter sakazakii, Campylobacter, Staphylococcus aureus, Vibrio, and yeast and mold.

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