Researchers in Georgia began field-testing in November a device they say can greatly improve the efficiency of testing for foodborne pathogens and lower processors' costs for such tests. The biosensor, as the device is called, can cut testing time from up to 72 hours down to about two hours while reducing lab-equipment costs from $12,000-$20,000 to $1,000-$5,000, the researchers say. But first the biosensor must prove itself with the chickens in a Carrollton, Ga., processing plant.

©1999 Georgia Tech Research Corp.

Paul Edmonds (right) tests the biosensor in a Georgia poultry processing plant.
Developed at the Georgia Tech Research Institute, the biosensor can simultaneously identify pathogen species and determine concentrations of multiple pathogens in about two hours while in operation on a processing plant floor. Federal regulations require lab tests for Escherichia coli and Salmonella in meat, but they don't specify standards for bacterial concentration. Most companies perform laboratory tests,...

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