The BAX® system, a genetics-based diagnostic tool developed by DuPont Qualicon, has been approved by the Ministry of Agriculture in Brazil as an Official Reference Method to detect Salmonella in food, water and environmental samples.
An evaluation conducted by the Ministry on over 1,800 samples in five laboratories concluded that the BAX® system was equivalent to the traditional culture method that has been used by the government for the last 40 years.
"This validation is an important step by the Ministry of Agriculture, showing its new vision toward modernization of the Brazilian Food Safety System," stated Josinete Barros de Freitas, coordinator of the Food Microbiology Department, CLA-MAPA.
According to Madasa do Brasil, DuPont Qualicon's local distributor who supported the validation process, "This achievement makes the BAX® system the first and only rapid detection method to obtain Official Reference Method status in Brazil. It also marks the first time the government has announced an Official Reference Method by brand name."
"The BAX® system has set the standard for rapid method pathogen testing in Brazil," said Kevin Huttman, president of DuPont Qualicon. "We're delighted to be part of this historic event, where the government has approved not genetics-based technology in general but the BAX® system specifically as the Official Reference Method for Salmonella testing."
Salmonella is a serious, sometimes fatal, food pathogen often found in poultry. Although thorough cooking will kill the bacteria, cross-contamination can occur through contaminated utensils and hands. An estimated 11,000 cases of salmonellosis are reported annually in Brazil, where poultry is the largest agribusiness sector of the country's animal protein production. In 2003, Brazil produced 7.87 million metric tons of poultry, with exports of more than 1.92 million metric tons.
The food regulatory agency for the state of Sao Paulo, along with some of the country's top food companies, began using the BAX® system last year to detect Salmonella. As an Official Reference Method, the BAX® system can now be used throughout Brazil to help ensure the safety of the country's food supply and protect the future of its exports.
The DNA-based BAX® system detects target bacteria in raw ingredients, finished food products and environmental samples. In addition to Salmonella, assays are also available for detecting E. coli O157:H7, Enterobacter sakazakii, Listeria and L. monocytogenes. The automated system is user-friendly and fits easily onto a laboratory bench top. Available since November 2000, hundreds of BAX® systems are already in use by governments, food companies and laboratories around the world.