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Some Strains of E. Coli May be in Your Food


EMSL’s DNA testing laboratory identifies lesser known strains of dangerous food pathogens that threaten the nation’s food supply.

Westmont, NJ

Recently the New York Times reported that six strains of E. coli, known as the “Big Six” to public health experts, are not routinely tested for in the nation’s food supply. Although testing for the more common E. coli 0157 has become commonplace and regulated, the other six strains are less understood and testing is not mandatory.

The dangers associated with the 0157 strain became common knowledge after a 1993 outbreak that sickened hundreds and killed 4 after customers of a large restaurant chain ate contaminated burgers in 1993. That outbreak caused a host of regulations and changes in the food industry to test for and prevent illness from the food pathogen.

These changes in testing regulations did not include analysis of the other 6 known dangerous strains of E. coli. In April one of these six strains was found on tainted lettuce that caused illness in at least 26 people from five states. Three of the affected individuals even suffered kidney failure.

E. coli is a Gram negative bacterium that is commonly found in the intestines of mammals. Their ability to survive outside of the body makes them a threat to our food supply since several strains of E. coli produce lethal toxins.

EMSL Analytical, a leading food and consumer products testing laboratory, has been on the forefront of offering food testing services to the general public and industry for years. “E. coli outbreaks can be deadly and EMSL’s DNA testing laboratory is there to help utilizing the most advanced PCR techniques to detect pathogens and unknown biological materials in food products,” stated Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President for EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Testing for E. coli is essential for safeguarding the public and keeping the food industry productive and safe.”

To learn more about E. coli or other food pathogen testing services contact EMSL Analytical at (800) 220-3675, visit and, or email

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of quality food, environmental and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.


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 new york times
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