An accurate and faster test to check for salmonella in poultry and eggs has been developed by researchers from University of Missouri.
Earlier this year, an outbreak of salmonella caused by infected eggs resulted in thousands of illnesses before a costly recall could be implemented.
The new test, as the researchers claim, could have prevented the contaminated eggs from being shipped to stores.
"Processors and consumers will benefit from the speed and sensitivity of the new test's results. This will keep companies from shipping contaminated products, and thus, keep salmonella infected products out of consumers' hands," said Azlin Mustapha, associate professor of food science in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.
Salmonellosis, the disease caused by salmonella, causes diarrhea, vomiting, fever, abdominal cramps and, in severe cases, death.
Mustapha said salmonella testing in poultry is important because it persists in birds' spleens and reproductive tracts. An infected bird passes the infection on to all of its eggs.
The most commonly used testing method for salmonella can take up to five days to produce results. Mustapha's research allows scientists to use a process, known as polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which can cut testing time to as little as five to 12 hours.
Mustapha's modification lets food scientists use the PCR test to capitalize on its speed, selectivity and sensitivity, but avoid false-positive tests by differentiating between dead and live cells.
The new technology would enable companies to avoid costly recalls and keep consumers safe.