Tests are needed to identify the other strains of E. coli.

Image source: FDA.
The US Department of Agriculture and DuPont 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. E. coli O157:H7 is the type of shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) most frequently associated with global food contamination outbreaks.

In recent years, other types of STEC have been identified as agents of foodborne illness, a growing concern in the US, Europe, Japan and food safety agencies worldwide. The Agricultural Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA ARS) will collaborate with DuPont Qualicon to develop an effective test for non-O157 STEC pathogens in food, and will also expand the diagnostic tools offered for use in the DuPont’s BAX System.

For more information on the non-O157 STEC pathogens, see the October 18th, 2007 edition of Tech Flash, Volume 3, No. 10.