Approximately 12 years ago, Bigard selected a new method for testing. They selected the BAX® System for several reasons. First, the system has been validated by AFNOR certification in France as an approved method for detecting E. coli O157:H7 in beef. Second, the protocol is easy, including a simple lysis protocol. Third, and most important, is the speed, sensitivity and specificity of the system.
Three years ago, they started testing for key pathogens in their ground meat products using samples from the grinders. They primarily look for stx and eae positive organisms via PCR using the BAX® System Real-Time PCR – STEC screening assay, indicating the presence or not of the pathogen genes. If results are positive for stx and eae, they perform additional analysis to check for the presence of O157:H7 and of the six serogroups of concern (O26, O111, O103, O121, O45, and O145).
Most of the time the results are typically negative, but they have an action plan to address any initially presumptive positive samples. The process involves sending the enrichment culture to their reference lab to confirm the result. In the meantime, the product is held on site until lab results come back.