New test tackles E.coli contamination

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: E. coli, Escherichia coli, Escherichia coli o157:h7

US firm Nymox Pharmaceutical rolls out a new treatment to tackle
contamination of the potentially fatal E.coli food pathogen.

The NXC-4720 method is capable of reducing the level of E. coli O157 contamination on fresh beef by over 99 per cent, claims the company.

E. coli O157 causes food poisoning, particularly in young children and in the elderly, with often serious long term kidney problems and sometimes fatal results.

The pathogen hit the headlines in the UK in recent weeks after authorities ordered UK cooked meat processor John Tudor and Son to withdraw its products from the market.

The move followed claims by the Food Standards Agency that the firm's cooked meat products had led to the infection of 56 school children with E.coli 0157.

The outbreak occurred in two dozen schools throughout south Wales, and is since believed to have touched 161 people.

But taking a terrible turn, yesterday the public learnt that a five-year-old Welsh boy called Mason Jones had died on Tuesday following last month's E coli outbreak in Wales.

He was among the people who contracted the food bug which swept through schools and communities in the South Wales valleys.

Jane Hutt, Welsh Assembly minister for children, said this week that a committee would look into the terms of reference for a "no holds barred" inquiry to find out what went wrong.

"There is no evidence yet that the outbreak is linked to us,"​ Calyn Williams, a spokesperson for John Tudor and Son, told FoodProductionDaily.com last month.

"We are waiting for the results of the health tests. We have no further comment to make."

The Wales-based company supplies cooked and fresh meats to schools and other public sector institutions, such as old age homes.

According to a study by researchers at the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), from 1982 to 2002, a total of 350 E. coli O157 outbreaks spanning 49 states were reported to the CDC.

While ground beef was the most common source of outbreaks, other sources including dairy products, drinking water and animal contact, were also significant.

According to the study, E. coli O157 infection each year in the US causes an estimated 73,480 illnesses, often with highly serious medical complications.

Related topics: Food Safety & Quality

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