Merck Millipore has launched a Campylobacter detection kit for poultry to test for the bacteria on the farm immediately prior to slaughter.
The Singlepath Direct Campy Poultry Kit for onsite Campylobacter Testing in Poultry delivers results in less than two hours, said the Life Science division of Merck.
It was developed in response to interest in methods for rapid screening of live chicken to enable the separation of highly positive and lower risk flocks to be made on the basis of up-to-date information.
“Studies suggest that broilers from chicken colonized with Campylobacter are far more likely to be implicated in human cases of campylobacteriosis”, Charlotte Lindhardt, product manager, dehydrated culture media and rapid testing applications at Merck Millipore/Biomonitoring told FoodQualityNews.com.
“There is therefore an interest in being able to screen flocks prior to slaughter to enable segregation of flocks likely to be colonized, and use that information to schedule batches (i.e. for freezing or for heat processed products).
“As the Campylobacter status of a whole flock can change from negative to positive within a week or less, to be an effective diagnostic tool the testing has to be done as close as possible to slaughter.”
Detection of Campylobacter requires 48 hours by standard microbiological methods and three hours by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
Real-time PCR detects Campylobacter at 1,000 to 10,000 times lower than the 10 million per gram consumer infection level, leading to positive results that provoke over-reaction.
Detection limit is around 3 x 107 cfu/g cecal dropping / cecal content (97% sensitivity).
It is critical to test poultry before slaughter as the bacteria can spread to an entire flock in a few days and render earlier results misleading.
Detection time reduction
Conventional methods require shipment of samples for laboratory analysis and several days wait time for results, said Merck Millipore.
“The reduction in analysis time is achieved by a combination of the sample type (cecal droppings / cecal content), required detection limit, sample pre-treatment and test device optimization,” Lindhardt explained.
“Through a combination of these factors, it has been possible to omit the enrichment culture phase and run the lateral flow test (reaction time 20 minutes) directly after a < 40 minutes sample preparation time.”
The detection assay is a lateral flow test which relies on the same principle as a pregnancy test and results are displayed in a yes/no format.
Lindhardt added: “New policies, which focus on prevention rather than contamination response, are being implemented to protect consumers.
“The Singlepath kit helps shift that focus to prevention and achieve faster, reliable results without the need for a laboratory, expensive instrumentation or skilled staff."