In this study, an evaluation of the sensitivity and specificity of detection of the ImmunoCard STAT! E. coli O157:H7 assay will be conducted on a variety of food matrices commonly associated with E. coli O157:H7 contamination. This detection technique incorporates monoclonal antibodies against the O157 and H7 antigens and provides a possible solution for reducing the occurrence of false positives while maintaining a high sensitivity of detection.
Expected Impact of Project Outcomes on Food Safety in Ontario:
The outcome of this study will be validated, culture-based, rapid, sensitive and specific screening method for E. coli O157:H7 detection in food samples. The ability of such assay to specifically detect E. coli O157:H7 within 24 hours of testing would provide a rapid turn around time for reporting test results as well as reducing the occurrence of false positives and misidentification, while maintaining a high sensitivity of detection. Also, rapid cultural isolation of E. coli O157:H7 from presumptive positive samples is essential not only for confirmatory purposes, but also to provide unequivocal results to regulatory agencies that require an isolate for further strain characterization in an outbreak investigation. <P> For more information, please visit the <a href="http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/research/foodsafety/index.html" target="_blank">Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) Food Safety Research Program</a>.