For Immediate Release September 27, 2006
Irradiation Could Minimize Future E. coli Outbreaks in Produce
SADEX CEO consumes spinach proven to have E. coli, then irradiated, to demonstrate food safety technology
SIOUX CITY, Iowa - Today SADEX Corporation chairman and chief executive officer David Corbin demonstrated his confidence in electronic pasteurization (irradiation) technology for ready-to-eat-foods by eating produce proven to have E. coli, then irradiated.
SADEX had spinach inoculated with extremely high amounts of E. coli, irradiated the produce then retested for the presence of the pathogen. This effort was conducted in collaboration with an independent laboratory and under the observance of the nation’s foremost authority on food-borne pathogens.
With food-borne illness killing 5,000 people per year, SADEX Corporation demonstrated why the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should approve the application of irradiation for use on ready-to-eat foods. Today, irradiation technology is used in 40 countries. In the United States the only obstacle preventing irradiation of ready-to-eat foods is the FDA.
”Irradiation is a well-known and FDA-approved technology used on animal feed, meat and poultry,” says Corbin. ”This technology can prevent food-borne illness, and we believe it is a great way to protect the nation’s food supply. Had the nation’s supply of spinach been irradiated, the most recent E. coli scare could have been minimized.”
Irradiation technology has been used to reduce microbial growth in foods and its effectiveness has been tested in laboratory settings, with the first patent approved in 1905. The testing this week was conducted under the supervision of Midwest Laboratories, Inc., of Omaha, Neb.
“By using laboratory inoculation of fresh spinach with the E. coli 0157:H7 organism and testing the spinach before and after irradiation technology, laboratory tests carried out at Midwest Laboratories have shown the reduction of the organism in spinach samples,” says Dr. Jerome King, QA/QC director at Midwest Laboratories. “Studies are being carried out by SADEX to treat spinach until there are no detectable levels of E. coli 0157:H7 in samples.”
The increasing threat of food-borne illness remains the greatest risk to the food industry. “While irradiation does not destroy all types of bacteria and virus, it is the best technology available to reduce disease-causing microorganisms, such as E. coli, from foods,” says Dr. Dennis Olson, food-borne pathogen expert and professor of animal science at Iowa State University. “For seven years, the food industry has been waiting for the FDA to approve the use of irradiation on ready-to-eat foods. Yet, the public waits.”
SADEX Corporation is based in Fort Worth, Texas and operates an electronic pasteurization facility in Sioux City, Iowa. SADEX provides irradiation services to food and agricultural industries utilizing proprietary, patented technology that eliminates pathogens, such as Salmonella, Listeria and E. coli, without the use of radioactive or chemical agents. The company is dedicated to improving human food and animal feed supplies by making products safer while improving the environment and community. For more information about SADEX or irradiation, check our Web site at www.sadexcorp.com.