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New Tests Allow Quick Detection of Foodborne Bacteria

A new testing method developed by Abu Dhabi’s centralised laboratory will allow detection of foodborne and environmental bacteria much quicker, helping prevent and limit outbreaks of food-related diseases.

The Central Testing Laboratory (CTL) will now use a high-tech method with proteins that infect and multiply inside bacteria. This will enable the detection of some of the most common harmful foodborne pathogens, including Salmonella species, E. coli, Campylobacter species and Listeria.
The procedure will take less than 19 hours, compared to the four days required with traditional methods of detection.

“Pathogenic bacteria species such as these account for most food and water-related illnesses and outbreaks, resulting in many fatalities worldwide. The new capability puts CTL on par with the leading laboratories of the world and further augments Abu Dhabi’s capacity to control outbreaks of food borne diseases,” said Mohammad Al Baloushi, acting director for marketing and communication the Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council (QCC). The QCC, which ensures the development of quality infrastructure in Abu Dhabi manages the CTL. The CTL itself is a merger of Abu Dhabi’s nine public laboratories.

The CTL’s current capabilities include testing of food, water, pharmaceuticals and construction materials.

Dr Krishna Murthy, director of Medeor 24x7 Hospital in the capital, said the new molecular testing method will allow for the rapid testing of foods and protect from possible pathogens being spread.
“With such advanced techniques, it is even possible to detect disease-causing bacteria that are present in very small quantities. So decisions to withdraw infected foods can be made accurately, thus keeping the community safe,” he explained.

The new detection method has also been accredited by the internationally accepted United Kingdom Accreditation Service.

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