Even as the number of food poisoning outbreaks being reported from across the country, are on the rise, the labs that detect contamination are simply not performing up to mark. That is the result of new analysis that was presented recently.
The analysis was presented at a meeting of the American Society for Microbiology recently, and it revealed that there are several gaps in the ability of food testing labs to detect and identify common food borne infection outbreaks. In the study, the analysts investigated more than 40,000 lab proficiency tests that were conducted over the last 14 years. These tests found that food labs deliver a number of false reports that are positive and negative.
The data which was compiled and analyzed by the American Proficiency Institute finds that lab tests had false negative results in approximately 9.1% for campylobacter, salmonella and E. coli. In these cases, the tests failed to identify the presence of the pathogen in the food.
False positive results were reported for approximately 4% of cases of salmonella pathogens and 2.5% for E. coli and listeria. In the case of a false positive result, pathogens were identified as being present in the food sample when they actually weren’t.
According to the researchers, better monitoring could lead to more successful testing for common food contaminants, reducing the risk of food poisoning for American consumers. However, food poisoning attorneys don’t believe that enhancing lab efficiency would be sufficient to lower rates of food poisoning outbreaks in the country. These measures aimed at increasing lab efficiency must also be accompanied by stronger steps taken during the food processing and manufacturing stages.
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