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Wilmington, November 15, 2005

USDA-FSIS adopts DNA-based technology to enhance consumer protection

DuPont Helps United States Improve Food Safety

Advanced molecular technology is helping the U.S. government protect consumers from foodborne bacteria that annually causes thousands of illnesses and sometimes death.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) recently adopted a new E. coli O157:H7 detection test for raw beef inspections that allows it to get faster, more accurate results.  The test, developed by DuPont Qualicon for the BAX® system, is able to find the bacteria in samples by detecting a DNA fragment specific only to E. coli 0157:H7.

“When it comes to food safety, every improvement in testing speed and accuracy can have a positive impact on public health,” said Kevin Huttman, DuPont Qualicon president.  “One huge benefit of using the BAX® system is that government food inspectors and food companies can invest freed up time and resources elsewhere in their quality control systems.”

Traditional biological tests for the pathogen require long waits of several days while the E. coli O157:H7 grow into colonies on agar plates.  The BAX® system from DuPont Qualicon delivers more accurate test results in a little more than a day.

The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service had previously adopted the BAXâ system to detect Salmonella in raw and ready-to eat meat, poultry and pasteurized egg products.  The agency also uses the BAX® system to detect Listeria monocytogenes in red meat, poultry, eggs and environmental samples.

According to the World Health Organization, up to 30 percent of the people in industrialized countries suffer from foodborne diseases each year.  In the United States, about 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths occur annually due to food that has been contaminated by pathogens.

Salmonellosis is a common problem in many countries, with estimates of 1.4 million cases reported annually in the United States.  While listeriosis and infection from enterohemorrhagic E. coli are less frequent, their severe and sometimes fatal health consequences make them among the most serious foodborne infections.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that E. coli O157:H7 causes about 73,000 cases of infection and 61 deaths in the United States each year, usually from eating undercooked ground beef.

Earlier this year, DuPont received the prestigious Black Pearl Award from the International Association of Food Protection for its efforts in advancing food safety and quality through consumer programs, employee relations, educational activities, and adherence to high standards.

The DuPont influence across the food value chain is supported by 10 key business areas, each with a focus on food production and services, including crop protection and commercial seed production, clean and disinfect technologies, ingredients manufacturing, food and drink processing and packaging, pathogen detection and risk assessment.

The BAXâ system from DuPont Qualicon uses advanced molecular technology to detect target bacteria in raw ingredients, finished food products and environmental samples.  Assays are available for detecting E. coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, Listeria genus, Enterobacter sakazakii, Campylobacter jejuni/coli and yeast and mold.  The automated system is user-friendly and fits easily onto a laboratory bench top.  Introduced in November 2000, hundreds of BAX® systems are already in use by governments, food companies and laboratories around the world.

DuPont Qualicon also markets the patented RiboPrinterâ system, the world’s only automated DNA fingerprinting instrument, which can be used to rapidly pinpoint sources of bacteria in pharmaceuticals, personal care products and food.  For more information on these products, please visit: on the web.

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DuPont is a science company.  Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere.  Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture, nutrition, electronics, communications, safety and protection, home and construction, transportation and apparel.