WILMINGTON, Del., Aug. 2, 2010 - DuPont and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have agreed to collaborate on the development of a new test for detecting hard-to-identify strains of toxin-producing E. coli that are not currently regulated and have been causing increased instances of food contamination and illness.
DuPont was among the first to develop tests for E. coli O157:H7, the type of shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) most frequently associated with global food contamination outbreaks. The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service uses the DuPontTM BAX® System to monitor for this pathogen.
In recent years, other types of STEC have been identified as agents of foodborne illness, and these are a growing concern in the United States, Europe, Japan and food safety agencies worldwide. The Agriculture Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA ARS) will collaborate with DuPont Qualicon to develop an effective test for the "Big 6" non-O157 STEC pathogens in food, and also will expand the diagnostic tools offered for use in the DuPontTM BAX® System.
"The USDA continually looks for opportunities to collaborate in ways that will expedite research to assist regulatory agencies and move technologies into the marketplace. This collaborative project to develop a discriminating STEC test is a good fit with our mission," said Pina Fratamico, USDA ARS research microbiologist.
"Developing the best science available into applications that meet the needs of the food industry has been our mission for more than a decade," said Marcos Cantharino, global business director - DuPont Qualicon. "Our DNA-based technology is easy to use, rapid and accurate, and provides the food industry with a simple and reliable test system to help assure protection of the global food supply."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimate that non-O157 STEC bacteria are responsible for 36,000 illnesses, 1,000 hospitalizations and 30 deaths annually.
Food processing companies around the world rely on the BAX® System to detect pathogens or other organisms in raw ingredients, finished products and environmental samples. The automated system uses leading-edge technology, including polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays, tableted reagents and optimized media to detect Salmonella, Listeria species, Listeria monocytogenes, E. coli O157:H7, Enterobacter sakazakii, Campylobacter, Staphylococcus aureus, Vibrio, and yeast and mold. With certifications and regulatory approvals in the Americas, Asia and Europe, the BAX® system is recognized globally as one of the most advanced pathogen testing systems available to food companies. For more information and photos, please visit www.qualicon.com
DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 90 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.