A new rapid test for E. coli O157:H7 has been developed by Salt Lake City-based Idaho Technology Inc. (ITI).

“Our objective is to help food processors effectively test for E. coli O157:H7 in order to prevent illnesses in consumers,” says David Nielsen, ITI vice president of product development.  “This new test from Idaho Technology provides easy accurate and timely pathogen identification to enhance food company productivity.”

The AOAC Research Institute granted Performance Tested Methods Status for the new ITI test using its R.A.P.I.D. ® LT Food Security System (FSS).   The test uses real-time technology to identify the presence of E. coli O157:H7 in raw ground beef and uncooked spinach food samples.

The new test can detect E. coli O157:H7 in a sample in less than one hour after an eight-hour enrichment period.  It provides better time to test esults than existing culture methods.

ITI is an originator of rapid DNA analysis with applications for biothreats, biomedical applications, and food protection systems.  ITI was founded in 1990 and remains a privately held company.

The  AOAC action is a validation for ITI’s rapid screening tool for E. coli and an important development for food manufacturers.   E. coli O157:H7 infects an estimated 70,000 people a year in the United States alone.

“The use of an E. coli O157:H7 screening tool that is both rapid and accurate will permit earlier release of products without the fear of outbreaks or possible food recalls,” ITI said in a prepared statement.

The test is designed for use only by trained laboratory personnel.