Updated 23 October 2015

Colour used to identify food germ

A company in France has developed a ready-to-use test that changes colour when it detects Campylobacter in food products.


Campylobacter, primarily C. jejuni, is the third leading cause of death from foodborne infections in the world.

CampyFood ID's test turns colonies that form in culture medium of clear agar an orange-red colour, making it easier to distinguish them, claims bioMérieux, an in-vitro diagnostics company based in Marcy-l’Etoile.

Testing for Campylobacter is seldom required by food safety regulations throughout the world. However, food companies have a responsibility for adopting the measures to guarantee food safety. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommends using a monitoring plan to reduce the risk related to Campylobacter infection. A new international ISO standard on detecting of Campylobacter was recently issued (ISO 10272-1:2006).

Coloured indicator with antibiotics

The innovation behind CampyFood ID, rests in the product's specific composition, a combination of a coloured indicator with antibiotics.

The charcoal or blood media normally used to test for the Campylobacter pathogens are not easily readable, when used by food labs, the company stated yesterday in a press release. The difficulty makes Campylobacter analysis complex and long.

bioMérieux claims to be the first European manufacturer of ready-to-use culture media. The new test is part of the company's offering in the food microbiology segment of the market.

The company also has tests for Listeria and L. monocytogenes, Salmonella, E. coli and E. coli O157:H7.

Poultry-based foods are assumed to be the primary source of campylobacteriosis, with the main routes of infection being the ingestion of inadequately cooked meat and cross-contamination. This pathogen is the cause of enteric infections that can be severe enough to cause death or serious neurological damage.

Earlier this year, the company received Frost & Sullivan's 2006 award for technology innovation of the year in the field of in-vitro diagnostics. The award was given for the company's NucliSENS easyMAG, an instrument used in the medical market for the molecular diagnostics of harmful bacteria or viruses.

Increase in cases

There has been a general increase in reported cases of campylobacteriosis over the last few years in the EU's fifteen original members, according to a European Commission document released earlier this year.

The statistics are in the European Commission's first report on the persistence in the EU of a range of zoonoses - foodborne diseases that are transmissible from animals to humans.

In 2004, the 25 EU countries reported a total of 6 860 outbreaks of zoonoses, with 42 447 people affected. By far the most frequently reported zoonotic diseases in humans are salmonellosis and campylobacteriosis, with the most deadly being listerious, the report found.

There were 192 703 reported cases of salmonellosis and 183 961 of campylobacteriosis cases reported during 2004 in the EU's 25 member states. The totals have increased for 2004 due to the expansion of the EU to include 10 new member states.

The overall incidence rate for Campylobacter was 47,6 cases per 100 000 population, a 32 percent increase from 2003. A trend towards increasing incident rates was observed in the thirteen out of 15 original member states. The exceptions were Spain and Sweden, where rates went down.

Poultry often the culprit

Poultry was the main souce of Campylobacter infections from food. In meat, the highest prevalence, greater than 80 percent, was reported in poultry meat at slaughter. At the retail level, Campylobacter was reported in poultry meat in a range of 8,1 percent to 77 percent.

Prevalences in pig meat and bovine meat at slaughter were considerably lower, ranging from no findings to 11,9 percent. Campylobacter were also isolated from a variety of other foodstuffs such as fishery products, cheeses and vegetables.

With few exceptions, 20 to 50 percent of all Campylobacter infections in humans were resistant to fluoroquinolones, tetracyclines, quinolones and penicillins. Samples from animals and meat show a common resistance to streptomycin, fluoroquinolones, ampicillin and tetracycline.

Zoonoses are diseases, which are transmissible from animals to humans. The infection can be acquired directly from animals, or through ingestion of contaminated foodstuffs. The seriousness of these diseases in humans can vary from mild symptoms to life-threatening conditions.

Source: Decision News Media

Read more:

Safety risks in food production

General food safety


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