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New Sensor To Detect Food-Borne Bacteria On Site

samzenpus posted about 6 months ago | from the just-eat-it dept.

Science 10

Zothecula (1870348) writes According to the CDC, around 48 million people in the US get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die as a result of foodborne illnesses every year. One of the main culprits is listeriosis (or listeria), which is responsible for approximately 1,600 illnesses and 260 deaths. Now researchers at the University of Southampton are using a device designed to detect the most common cause of listeriosis directly on food preparation surfaces, without the need to send samples away for laboratory testing.

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This already exists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47247363)

It's called a "nose".

main? (4, Informative)

arth1 (260657) | about 6 months ago | (#47247371)

If Listeria is responsible for 1,600 out of 128,000 (1.25%) of foodborne illnesses and 260 out of 3,000 (8.7%) of the deaths, I would not call it one of the [b]main[/b] culprits.

I'm also uncertain which CDC TFH has its numbers from. Checking with the CDC web site [cdc.gov] , I find:

During January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2010, public health departments reported 1,527 foodborne disease outbreaks, resulting in 29,444 cases of illness, 1,184 hospitalizations, and 23 deaths.

That's quite different figures from what the header here says.

Re:main? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47247965)

That's quite different figures from what the header here says.

Heh, tried to do some of my own number-grabbing. Looked at a CDC report from 1998-2008 [cdc.gov] , and saw "Each year, >9 million foodborne illnesses are estimated to be caused by major pathogens acquired in the United States." While 48 is grater than 9, a data table [cdc.gov] clarifies ">9 million" to mean "9,638,301", not 48 million. Also, another table [cdc.gov] mentions 35,767 bacterial hospitalizations, not 128,000, and yet another [cdc.gov] mentions 862 deaths from bacteria.

From the study I found, there is either a recent pandemic that food poisonings are 4-5 times the historical average, or the summary's numbers are total bunk.

Good Germs vs Bad Germs. (1, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about 6 months ago | (#47247375)

One main issue I can see, is over sterilization of food. There are a lot of bacteria's that we ingest and have in your bodies that is helpful. And a lot of people today are getting health issues from living in an overly sterile environment. We have drugs like pro-biodics which are in essence a healthy persons poop in pill form, to try to get these people more healthy.

There are bad Germs that make us sick. But there are a lot of them that are helpful or at least seem neutral (and could be helpful) that we like to kill off, because they are just germs.

Re:Good Germs vs Bad Germs. (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 6 months ago | (#47247771)

No, one of the main problems (especially for things like listeria) is poor cleaning standards for commercial food processing stuff.

Yes, there certainly are good bacteria which promote health ... but in some of these cases with listeria, the company hasn't been properly cleaning the insides of commercial machines.

Similarly, things show up in all sorts of places where they shouldn't because of agricultural practices or food companies ... if your lettuce is getting salmonella or e coli on it, it's not because it started out there, but got cross contaminated either in the field, in transit, or in the processing plants.

On an industrial scale, modern food processing is pretty gross.

Re:Good Germs vs Bad Germs. (1)

volmtech (769154) | about 6 months ago | (#47249823)

You know those small, white potatoes that are sometimes mixed canned green beans? Those are often the B sized (small) potatoes that are sized out of field loaded chip potatoes. They are kept in a hopper up to a week until enough for a pickup are collected. They can be slimy wet with rot with the processor paying on usable amount received after the load was washed and picked over. One day the driver of the semi picking up some of mine that were particularly pungent said he delivered a load like that to a hash brown manufacture. He said the rotten ones were NOT picked out before going into the cooker. It was years before I could bring myself to eat a hash brown.

Re:Good Germs vs Bad Germs. (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 6 months ago | (#47248667)

And listeria is not one of these germs. Seriously, did we even read the summary? WTF

What's new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47247529)

What exactly is new? The sensor or the process?

Electrochemiluminescence isn't a new technology nor is binding human antibodies to a plate to produce electrochemiluminescence . How does it differ from this (see Related Products) http://www.mesoscale.com/CatalogSystemWeb/WebRoot/literature/publications_details.aspx?PublicationID=2681 ?

The difficult part is testing food in a non-laboratory environment with non-laboratory personnel and getting reliable results. Food processing plants can probably already afford the existing technology to do this in-house.

Re:What's new? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47249561)

If your prior art is a list of tests for detecting proteins in a human that appear after exposure to listeria (and I'm guessing that's what all the Human MIP-3alpha tests in the "Related Products" list when I look at your link are), then yes, being able to detect listeria on a steel table that is not undergoing an immune response is novel.

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