London, Ont. A new rapid test kit developed by researchers at West University. romaine may have identified E. coli in lettuce long before shipments hit market shelves.
The kit developed by the West detects a protein specific for E. coli 0157 bacteria and may show results below 24 hours. This is the same type of bacteria that causes the current outbreaks in the United States and Canada.
The current test is based on cultures from possibly contaminated samples and taken to be sent for testing, and the results take up to two weeks to return.
At that time, the food was often shipped to the market.
& # 39; Faster and cheaper & # 39;
He is a professor at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry in the West, and a scientist at the Robarts Research Institute. I Our goal is to make the test as close to the source as possible, Michael said Michael Rieder.
"This technology is not only faster, it is less expensive, it is easy to use and it can be done correctly in processing plants."
The Western University team was approved by Health Canada and is currently being referred to food processing facilities in North America.
. We're looking for this specific bio-brand because it's specific to pathogenic bacteria. The presence of bacteria is not bad, but we want to identify specific bacteria that will cause people to become ill. Bak .
"The goal is a safer food chain for all, so public safety can be ensured."
Most of the efforts to develop the kit have been funded with a grant from Mitacs, a federal, nonprofit organization that promotes academic and industrial cooperation.
Western researchers have developed the kit with a Toronto based biomedical company and London entrepreneurs Craig Combe and Michael Brock.