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Researchers Develop Tests to Prevent Salmonella Outbreaks

| Nov 29, 2010

Researchers at the University of Missouri may have developed a test to prevent another massive Salmonella outbreak related to contaminated eggs, which caused more than 550 million eggs to be recalled and 2,400 people to fall ill this year.

The new test would produce faster, more accurate results for the presence of Salmonella in eggs. Currently, the most common method of testing used takes up to five days to produce results. With the new procedures, testing time will only take 5-12 hours. The process, known as polymerase chain reaction (PCR), determines if the Salmonella is "live" or "dead." "Live" bacteria can be very harmful for consumers.

Quicker test results could enable food manufacturers to have accurate results before shipping out the product, preventing expensive recalls and food poisoning . Companies must invest in the PCR instrument and train personnel to use it, however there is less work involved than other processes. The Missouri Department of Agriculture also adopted a testing method to detect E. coli in ground beef.

As a North Charleston foodborne illness attorney , I hope this new testing is used and food manufacturers put it to use right away. "Live" Salmonella can trigger Salmonellosis, the disease caused by Salmonella which results in vomiting, fever, abdominal cramps, and sometimes death. This new testing also avoids false-positive tests, according to the Science Blog .

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