USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) says it will adopt the BAX® system to detect Escherichia coli O157:H7 in raw beef. FSIS says it will use the rapid, highly sensitive test as an initial screening test for all raw beef samples analyzed for E. coli O157:H7. Any sample found positive would then undergo further confirmatory analysis. The same system is currently in use by FSIS for the detection of Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes.

FSIS says the BAX® system will substantially reduce samples initially screening positive, but later confirmed negative. By reducing false screening-positives, FSIS says it will save critical lab resources. The improved screening test also reduces the number of days that raw product from negative production lots must be held pending lab results.

FSIS will use the system to screen samples in the agency's three field service labs: Athens, GA; St. Louis, MO; and Alameda, CA. FSIS conducts approximately 90,000 microbiological tests for E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes annually.