Gaithersburg-based IGEN International Inc. said yesterday that it has launched field studies of a test it has developed that can detect the presence of E. coli bacteria in meat and other food.
The bacteria have been implicated as the cause of numerous outbreaks of gastrointestinal and renal diseases, including last summer's stomach illnesses from tainted meat processed at a Hudson Foods plant.
IGEN, maker of a medical diagnostic device, said the U.S. Department of Agriculture and an unidentified food producer would participate in the study aimed at evaluating how sensitive the test is to the bacteria.
IGEN hopes to capitalize on new regulations requiring stricter testing for food processing.
Luke Smith, an analyst with Chapin, Davis in Baltimore, said the test, if approved for marketing, could boost revenue for the publicly held company. "There is huge potential. This is an emerging market," Smith said. "Others have said that [IGEN's] test is 10 times more sensitive than anything else out there."
IGEN said it is developing other tests for food-borne pathogens.
Pub Date: 7/16/98