E. coli Test Confirmed by UA Center for Food Safety
Preliminary tests by scientists at the Center for Food Safety and a federal agency have confirmed that a technology developed by the center’s industry collaborator, Litmus Rapid-B LLC (LRB), works better than current conventional methods for detecting pathogenic E. coli bacteria. A Food and Drug Administration’s Food Emergency Response Network laboratory validated LRB’s detection technology. Tests at the Center for Food Safety confirmed the performance claims by LRB, and also mirrored the FDA labs data. “The significant improvement in speed and accuracy by LRB could improve detection and allow protocols to shift to more proactive testing for E. coli,” said Steven Ricke, director of the Center for Food Safety. “Accurate results are provided in five hours rather than eight to 24 hours for other rapid methods,” he said. LRB, a Little Rock-based biotechnology company, developed its technology in collaboration with the National Center for Toxi-cological Research, an agency of the FDA based in Jefferson, Ark. Based on the confirmation of LRB’s performance claims for testing E. coli, the center will begin work to confirm the company’s performance claims and protocols for Salmonella. “The collaboration with LRB will allow the Center for Food Safety to continue its tradition of introducing novel technologies and protocols to the food processing industry,” Ricke said. In addition to improving prospects for food safety, Ricke said, the collaboration with LRB helps the Division of Agriculture in its drive to improve economic development in Arkansas. Recently, LRB began working with the center to improve identification of food-borne bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella throughout processing and distribution points. n Researchers are determining faster and more accurate ways to detect E. coli in food supplies, which will lead to fewer recalls and safer food in the grocery store.