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Evaluation of Detection Methods for Screening Meat and Poultry Products for the Presence of Foodborne Pathogens

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Rapid and molecular technologies such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), PCR, and lateral flow immunoprecipitation can reduce the time and labor involved in screening food products for the presence of pathogens. These technologies were compared with conventional culture methodology for the detection of Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria, and Escherichia coli O157:H7 inoculated in raw and processed meat and poultry products. Recommended protocols were modified so that the same enrichment broths used in the culture methods were also used in the ELISA, PCR, and lateral flow immunoprecipitation assays. The percent agreement between the rapid technologies and culture methods ranged from 80 to 100% depending on the pathogen detected and the method used. ELISA, PCR, and lateral flow immunoprecipitation all performed well, with no statistical difference, compared with the culture method for the detection of E. coli O157:H7. ELISA performed better for the detection of Salmonella, with sensitivity and specificity rates of 100%. PCR performed better for the detection of Campylobacter jejuni, with 100% agreement to the culture method. PCR was highly sensitive for the detection of all the foodborne pathogens tested except Listeria monocytogenes. Although the lateral flow immunoprecipitation tests were statistically different from the culture methods for Salmonella and Listeria because of false-positive results, the tests did not produce any false negatives, indicating that this method would be suitable for screening meat and poultry products for these pathogens.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Agri-Food Laboratories Branch, Food Safety Division, Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, 6909 116 Street, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6H 4P2 2: University of Alberta, Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, 4-10 Agriculture Forestry Centre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2P5

Publication date: December 1, 2005

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