Food Safety Magazine

RAPID MICRO SOLUTIONS | October/November 2011

Leading the Way in Food Safety Science

By Qualicon

Leading the Way in Food Safety Science

Fast, accurate testing results are critical for delivering safer food products to consumers and more profitable growth for food companies. That’s why at DuPont Qualicon, our food safety science is focused on continually developing state-of-the-art diagnostic technologies that help revolutionize food safety.

DuPont Qualicon was the first company to apply PCR technology to commercial food testing with rapid, DNA-based assays for Salmonella, Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Listeria monocytogenes. Our use of automated PCR processing with tableted rather than liquid reagents created a dramatic increase in speed and consistency—helping usher in a new era of easy-to-use testing methodology.

Meeting a Global Need
For years, leading food companies and government testing labs around the world have relied on the DNA-based BAX® System to quickly and accurately detect pathogens such as Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes, Campylobacter, Vibrio and more.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has adopted the BAX System for meat and poultry testing, and government testing agencies in Brazil, Canada, China, Japan, Russia and other parts of the world have validated the BAX System as an approved testing method to help protect their food supply and their citizens.

The BAX System has also been certified by independent authorities such as AOAC and the French Association of Normalization (AFNOR). What’s more, the BAX System has been included in the Emergency Response Validation program of the AOAC Research Institute (AOAC-RI), a program designed to respond immediately to emerging food contamination crises.

Delivering Innovations Year after Year
While we’re proud to have been a part of food safety history, we’re always looking ahead to provide the next breakthrough in food safety science—with technological advances and new assays that make food safety and diagnostics faster, more accurate and more convenient.

For example, in 2009, we introduced the BAX System Real-Time PCR Assay for E. coli O157:H7. Developed in collaboration with the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), this assay delivers accurate, same-day results with no upfront concentration steps required. Certified by both AOAC-RI and AFNOR, the assay has been validated as an effective method for detecting a single cell of the pathogen in real-world sample sizes.

Based on the success of this collaboration and recognizing the rising concern about illnesses linked to Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) serotypes other than O157:H7, DuPont Qualicon entered into a collaborative agreement with the ARS in 2010 to develop a new test for non-O157 STEC based on the BAX System.

Collaborating to Protect the Food Supply
The result of these collaborative efforts is the new BAX System STEC suite—a set of real-time PCR assays that align with the testing requirements proposed by the FSIS. These new assays, expected to be commercially available in fall 2011, will enable food processors and testing labs to reliably detect and identify pathogenic STECs in ground beef, beef trim and produce.

The BAX System STEC suite includes a screening assay and two panel assays. The screening assay detects STEC virulence genes—stx1,2 and eae—to quickly and conveniently rule out negative samples.

For samples with positive results, the panel assays can determine if the sample contains one of the top six STEC serogroups—O26, O111, O121, O45, O103 and O145—that have been identified as clinically significant in the United States during the past 20 years.

With the BAX System STEC suite, single-stage enrichment is complete in 9 to 12 hours, depending on sample type and volume. Dual tests for STEC and O157:H7 can be run from the same single lysate, which is also used for the panel assays. With no need for additional sample prep between tests, hands-on time and the risk of cross-contamination are reduced. Rapid real-time processing delivers results in less than 1 hour, allowing food processors to make product-release decisions quickly and with confidence.

Making Food Safety and Diagnostics Faster, Easier and More Accurate
From sophisticated analytical platforms to soluble packets of enrichment media, DuPont Qualicon is a company you can trust to deliver the technology innovations you need to reduce risk, react to issues quickly and ultimately deliver the safest food possible to consumers. For more information, please visit qualicon.com.