A tool to rapidly detect and measure E. coli 0157:H7 in meat can be distributed to processors worldwide following the signing of a new licence agreement, claims a Canadian food safety test manufacturer.
Vacci-Test Corporation said a deal with California-based MagnaBioSciences (MBS) gives it the world wide rights to the patented MBS magnetic technology for the detection of pathogens in food.
The first product to be released on the market under this new licence will be FoodChek-E.coli, a test that is rapid, highly accurate and cost effective, claims Vacci-Test.
According to the developer, the E.coli tool will be available from the fourth quarter in 2008, and will be quickly followed by tests for the detection of the pathogens Salmonella and Listeria.
FoodChek E.coli uses magnetic nanotechnology and a proprietary, inexpensive and easy-to-use magnetic reader that provides a very sensitive, specific and quantitative test result, claims the manufacturer.
The company said that the E.coli tool has successfully completed field trials in two meat processing plants: “The field trials have shown that it can accurately test for E.coli O157:H7 in less than 6 hours.”
Sandy MacPherson, chairman of the executive operating committee of Vacci-Test, said that the E.coli testing tool will have “a major impact for both regulatory agencies and meat-processors. Potential food contaminants such as E.coli O157:H7 can now be tested on site and identified prior to the end of a production shift.”
He said that the test eliminates the need for slaughterhouses and meat-processors to hold finished products in cold storage until testing can be completed by off-site third parties.
E.coli O157:H7 is a potentially deadly bacterium that can cause bloody diarrhoea, dehydration, and in the most severe cases, kidney failure, Children, the elderly and those with weak immune systems are the most susceptible.
An estimated 100,000 cases of human infection with the E.coli O157:H7 bacteria are reported each year in North America.