Make Our Food Safe

"Labs Fail to Detect Cases of Bacterial Food Contamination" | Alexandra Sifferlin

"Foodborne illnesses are a continuing problem in the U.S., but labs that are supposed to detect the presence of pathogens aren’t up to snuff, according to a new report.

The analysis, presented at the 113th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, revealed worrisome gaps in the ability of food laboratories to detect or rule out the presence of common disease-causing bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella, Listeria, and Campylobacter.

The study involved about 40,000 food laboratory proficiency tests conducted over the last 14 years and showed that food microbiology laboratories that are supposed to identify pathogens in food submit a disturbing number of false negative and false positive results. The data was compiled by the American Proficiency Institute (API), a private institute that monitors the accuracy of bacterial testing among labs that voluntarily submit to the review."

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