Partnership with USDA-FSIS Enables Same-day Detection and Accurate Results


Life Technologies has developed a complete rapid molecular testing workflow for multiple strains of pathogenic Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC), a bacteria found in undercooked beef.

Meat producers require a faster and simpler method to accurately detect multiple Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli strains, which can include the well-known O157:H7 serotype as well as more than 100 non-O157 strains.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) now requires testing for the "Big Six" non-O157 strains (O26, O45, O103, O111, O121 and O145) that cause about 70 percent of non-O157 infection, but this testing requires new analytical methods.

The USDA Microbiology Laboratory Guidebook (MLG) method is the formal approach recommended by the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service(FSIS) for the testing and isolation of the "Big 6" Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli in ground beef and beef trim in the U.S.  Life Technologies offers many of the reagents validated in the USDA FSIS MLG method.

While the MLG method provides confident results and isolation of the pathogen, the six -day process is too long, requires too many reagents, and requires significant technician training and processing, all of which drives up the cost.  

Life Technologies has been collaborating with the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) to validate assay designs against an extensive panel of both pathogenic and non-pathogenic Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli of various o- group and origin.  The result is highly-specific, single-target PCR assays which can be multiplexed to provide high levels of accuracy for a high-throughput screening assay.

The Life Technologies workflow will provide faster, simpler detection with the same level of sensitivity and accuracy produced by the MLG method:

  • Simplify your workflow — Compatible with your existing testing program and simultaneously detects E. coli O157:H7 and the "Big 6" non-O157E. coli in 375g of ground beef and beef trim samples.
  • Greater confidence in results — Detects as little as 1 to 5cfu of pathogenic Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli  in your sample, with proprietary assay designs that lower chances for false positives and eliminate false negatives.
  • Same day product release — Same day detection of pathogenic Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli. Clearance of 375g of ground beef and beef trim samples in as little as 10 hours.

"The more strains of E. coli that meat producers can quickly and accurately analyze, the more likely they can ensure that beef is safe for public consumption, and poses no threat of illnesses caused by foodborne bacterium," said Nir Nimrodi, Vice President and General Manager of Food Safety and Animal Health at Life Technologies.

Life Technologies developed the complete sample-to-answer testing workflow based on its core competencies in:

  • Superior DNA sample preparation capabilities;
  • Simple, accurate and sensitive real-time PCR assay formats designed with our "best in class" DNA sequencing and bioinformatics capabilities; and
  • Sample analysis and data interpretation.

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