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New AOAC-RI PTM Certification for STEC Detection Workflow Provides Beef Producers with a Rapid but Simple Solution to Screen for STEC

Beef producers can simultaneously and accurately screen for Escherichia coli O157:H7 and the Big Six Shiga toxigenic E. coli (STEC) in 375g raw beef samples, enabling rapid product release.

Thermo Fisher Scientific, a market leader in culture media, microbiology, molecular and mass spectrometry systems, has been awarded AOAC-RI Performance Tested MethodsSM certification for its Applied Biosystems RapidFinder STEC Detection Workflow. Validated for use on the Applied Biosystems 7500 Fast System, the workflow is a two-stage real-time PCR method, designed to screen for and confirm E. coli O157:H7 and the Big 6 serogroups of non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, defined by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) as adulterants in the American beef industry (serogroups O26, O45, O103, O111, O121 & O145).

“For beef producers, rapid and accurate results when screening products for STEC and other pathogens can bring substantial economic benefits. In addition, unnecessary product diversions and production shutdowns can be avoided, and risk to brand and reputation is minimized,” said Tim Carmack, group product director food safety, microbiology, Thermo Fisher Scientific. “While reference methods are accurate and sensitive, they take a minimum of two days to clear negative samples, and require a number of handling steps. Where alternative methods often require complex sample preparation steps or specialized enrichment media to achieve faster time to results, the RapidFinder STEC Detection Workflow screening test results are available in as few as 12 hours with a simplified workflow.”

The RapidFinder STEC Detection Workflow enables:

  • Confidence in results — optimized workflow, co-developed with USDA-ARS, showed equivalent performance to the USDA-MLG reference method in AOAC-RI validation studies
  • Simplified workflow — Semi-automated sample preparation option and simultaneous detection of E. coli O157:H7 and the Big 6 non-O157:H7 STEC in 375g raw ground beef and beef trim samples
  • Rapid product release — same-day clearance of STEC-negative samples in as few as 12 hours and confirmation of presumptive positives with just one additional 40 minute PCR test
  • Minimized costs, space requirements and handling — single enrichment step in non-proprietary enrichment broth

In addition to the RapidFinder STEC Detection Workflow, Thermo Fisher Scientific provides real-time PCR-based workflow solutions and other methods to test for a broad range of food safety and quality indicators including foodborne viruses, meat species identification and GMO markers, as well as an expanding range of custom developed assays. The Applied Biosystems 7500 Fast Real-Time PCR System provides expansive molecular capability and streamlined testing processes which may reduce overall costs.

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