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Swifter salmonella test a ‘milestone’ for egg industry - researcher

By Rory Harrington , 17-Jan-2011

A unique molecular test that detects Salmonella enteritidis (SE) in poultry eggs can provide results up to 10-times faster than traditional methods, said the US company behind the product.

Life Technologies Corp said it has launched the first real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) detection system to test for SE after receiving an equivalency rating from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The firm said the decision by the FDA recognised that its Applied Biosystems TaqMan Salmonella enteritidis Detection Kit was “equivalent in accuracy, precision and sensitivity to its current standard methods” described in the body’s Bacteriological Analytical Manual (BAM, December 2007 Edition).

The test, developed with the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, uses PCR technology to determine whether eggs contain SE in just 27 hours – compared to the conventional 10-day turnaround time, said Life Technologies.

The company said the breakthrough made it “the only tool of its kind on the market”. The faster testing procedure had been developed in response to the Federal Egg Safety Program. The regulation, which came into force in July 2010, toughened up procedures to prevent the contamination of eggs with SE, it added.

Milestone

“The faster turnaround time to reach accurate results with this new molecular test not only enables egg producers to easily conform to the FDA’s new stringent testing standards, but also helps limit the negative economic impact associated with SE outbreaks,” said Gene Gregory, president and CEO of the United Egg Producers.

Last year, a nationwide contamination of SE led to the recall of 550m eggs in the US. The tainted eggs were believed to have been produced at two Iowa-based farms.

Shelley Rankin, associate professor of Microbiology at Penn Vet and lead researcher on this project, said: “The FDA equivalence determination for this test marks a milestone for the egg industry in this country.”

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