US biotechnology company Life Technologies has developed a new E.coli detection system, which it claims dramatically reduces testing times for detection of multiple strains of the deadly bug in raw beef.
The RapidFinder™ STEC (Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli) Detection system was developed in collaboration with the US Department of Agriculture and has received a Letter of No Objection from the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), meaning that processors using it for E.coli detection testing will comply with food safety regulations.
It can detect the presence of E.coli O157:H7 as well as the ‘Big 6’ non-O157 strains (O26, O45, O103, O111, O121 and O145) in 10 hours. The previous standard testing method, which was developed by the USDA Microbiology Laboratory Guidebook (MLG), took six days.
Nir Nimrodi, vice-president and general manager of Food Safety and Animal Health at Life Technologies, said: “The more strains of E.coli that meat producers can quickly and accurately analyse, the more likely they can ensure that beef is safe for public consumption.
“The success of RapidFinder STEC is partially attributed to the large pool of leading customers who served as beta testers and with whom we also collaborated on this product. The USDA’s Letter of No Objection further validates our solution’s ability to satisfy the unique safety and business requirements within the meat industry.”
Life Technologies said that RapidFinder™ is not only much quicker and less labour-intensive than the previous E.coli detection methods, but also “significantly” reduces the rate of false negative and false positive results.