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Repeatability of the Petrifilm HEC Test and Agreement with a Hydrophobic Grid Membrane Filtration Method for the Enumeration of Escherichia coli O157:H7 on Beef Carcasses

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The Petrifilm HEC test (3M Canada Inc., London, Ontario), a quantitative microbiological test for Escherichia coli O157:H7, was evaluated for its performance as a beef-carcass monitoring test. Test repeatability and agreement with an E. coli O157:H7 detection method using a hydrophobic grid membrane filter (HGMF) overlaid onto cefixime–tellurite–sorbitol MacConkey agar (CT-SMAC) followed by a latex agglutination test for the O157 antigen were determined by using pure cultures of E. coli O157:H7, beef samples experimentally contaminated with bovine feces containing E. coli O157:H7, and naturally contaminated beef carcasses of unknown E. coli O157:H7 status from a local abattoir. The Petrifilm HEC test showed excellent repeatability and excellent agreement with the HGMF-CT-SMAC method when test samples were obtained from pure cultures and experimentally contaminated meat. All 125 naturally contaminated beef carcasses surveyed were negative for E. coli O157:H7 with both microbial methods. The Petrifilm HEC test, however, demonstrated a significantly lower proportion of cross-reactive organisms (false-positive reactions) than the HGMF-CT-SMAC method. Given the performance of this test coupled with its ease of use and compact size, it shows considerable promise for carcass testing where abattoir laboratory facilities are limited and as a substitute for more complex laboratory testing methods used in established laboratories.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1, Canada 2: Health of Animals Laboratory, Health Canada, 110 Stone Road, Guelph, Ontario N1G 3W4, Canada 3: Department of Food Science, Ontario Agricultural College, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1, Canada 4: Agriculture and Food Laboratory Services, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, 95 Stone Road, Guelph, Ontario N1H 8J7, Canada

Publication date: April 1, 1998

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