Protecting You from Your Food

The recently passed Food Safety Bill and a new technology are likely to improve food safety

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) The recent passing of the Food Safety Bill in combination with a new bacteria-detecting technology is likely to make American consumers safer.

Last week, President Obama signed into law the Food Safety Bill, the first significant piece of consumer protection legislation concerning food products in over 70 years. According to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the bill will ensure the safety of Americans as they sit down to eat.

Over the past few years, the United States has experienced a plethora of contaminated foods including eggs, beef, cheese, and celery. The Salmonella contamination of eggs this past summer sickened over 2,400 people. Cheeses from both Bravo Farms and Morningland Dairy were linked to food-borne illnesses as well.

As outbreaks of food-borne illnesses become seemingly more common, companies such as Micro Identification Technologies, Inc. (MIT) are finding ways to protect consumers. At the beginning of the year, MIT announced the development of the MIT 1000 Rapid Mircrobial Identification System, a new technology that can identify bacteria in less than 5 minutes. What's more, each test incurs a cost of less than 10 cents. The system is already certified by the AOAC Research Institute to test for Listeria. MIT reports that it is currently handling certification for Salmonella and E. coli.

MIT has shown that its system can identify E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella - the three pathogens to blame for most of the food contaminations around the world - as well as 20 other types of bacteria. In more than 300 tests, MIT's system accurately identified pathogenic bacteria with 95 percent accuracy.

According to Liz Hitchcock, food expert with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, outbreaks of Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli can only be contained if they are prevented from happening in the first place. Hopes are that the recent legislation passed by Congress in combination with MIT's identification system will reduce the risk of food-borne illnesses.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
January 13, 2011
Last Updated:
January 14, 2011