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Validation of the new CEN/ISO standard to detect Enterobacter sakazakii

This project provides support for the UK participation in an international ring trial to validate the full ISO/CEN method to detect Enterobacter sakazakii.

Background

Our organisation is interested in the safety of powdered infant formula with respect to Enterobacter sakazakii, which may cause illness in babies. Inappropriate preparation, storage and use of powdered infant formula can provide an ideal environment for the growth of this bacterium.

The current ISO method for the detection of E. sakazakii is only a technical specification. A collaborative ring trial to validate the full CEN/ISO method development work is being undertaken internationally beginning during 2007. The results of the ring trial should lead to a full ISO method and ensure a consistent and reliable approach to testing for E. sakazakii.

Research Approach

The Health Protection Agency London Regional Food, Water and Environmental Microbiological Services laboratory is the UK BSI representative on the CEN ad hoc committee preparing the new standard for the detection of E. sakazakii.

The collaborative ring trial will compare a broth and a final detection agar medium for the detection of E. sakazakii with the proposed new ISO standard and a rapid detection method. The trial will use at least 10 different E. sakazakii strains to validate the test methodology to ensure that it is fit for purpose for use in routine testing laboratories.