Sizzling sales for irradiated burgers.

Strong sales of the nation's first irradiated hamburger meat, which debuted in Minneapolis and St. Paul stores last month, should help alleviate concern about consumer acceptance of irradiated products. In fact, the hamburger is selling so fast that, at press time, distributors were already expanding into four other states, with more rollouts planned for early June. Labeled as irradiated, the burgers were launched by Huisken Meats, Chandler, Minn., on May 16, and sold under Huisken's, RG's and private store names. The burgers were irradiated through electronic pasteurization, a process considered more acceptable to consumers than methods using radioactive materials as their energy source. Electronic pasteurization was developed by Titan Corp. of San Diego and its SureBeam subsidiary.

Lab test simultaneously detects Salmonella, E. coli.

Microbiologists for the Agricultural Research Service in Ames, Iowa, have developed a laboratory test that simultaneously detects Salmonella and a deadly form of E. coli O157:H7. The test detects the two pathogens by employing a technique called fluorescent polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which makes multiple copies of DNA. Then two fluorescent probes present in a PCR tube specifically detect Salmonella and E. coli 0157:H7 by detecting DNA specific to these bacteria. Thus far, the test has been evaluated to detect between one and 10 bacterial cells in meat and feces that are cultured six to 16 hours prior to performing PCR, which requires only four hours. This makes the new test several hours faster than standard culturing techniques.

Listeria test granted AOAC-RI approval.

A Listeria detection kit known as EiaFloss ELISA (Enzyme-Linked Immuno Sorbent Assay) has been granted Performance Tested Methods Status by the AOAC Research Institute. Manufactured by Foss North America, the automated instrument employs a combination of Immuno Magnetic Separation (IMS) and ELISA techniques to provide increased sensitivity and specificity over traditional methods. New enrichment procedures reduce the amount of time spent waiting for test results. Results, including enrichment, are available in 48 hours. Cultural methods require two days for enrichment and two days for detection.