West Virginia Department of Agriculture’s (WVDA) Regulatory and Environmental Affairs Division (READ) Microbiologist Amie Minor has been invited to present a paper at the International Association of Food Protection (IAFP) in July as part of the infectious disease research she has been conducting through WVDA’s cooperative work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) and Food Emergency Response Network (FERN).
“We have been selected to present on our research for the ‘Enrichment Temperature Variation Effects on Shigella
qPCR in High Background Food Matrices’,” said Minor, who heads up the Food Safety Laboratory at the WVDA headquarters at Guthrie.
is a bacteria closely related to Salmonella
. In molecular biology, qPCR (quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction) is used to amplify and simultaneously quantify a targeted DNA molecule.
“In plain terms, normally when we look for Shigella
in raw foods, there are a lot of other competitive bacteria present as well. By finding an ideal enrichment temperature that our target Shigella
could grow well in – but also cut down on the competitive bacteria – we were able make the test more efficient,” Minor said.
Minor also noted the contributions of colleagues, READ Microbiologist Kellie Littlefield and READ Assistant Director Brenda Keavey, who helped with the analysis during the study.
Commissioner Helmick stressed the importance of the WVDA’s lab work to the citizens of West Virginia.
“The work being done in the WVDA laboratories is of outstanding quality, and is fundamental to the health and safety of the citizens of West Virginia,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Walt Helmick. “It’s all the more important that we get these programs into facilities designed and constructed for analytical scientific activities. The current buildings at Guthrie are dated and simply inadequate for their current use.”
IAFP is an organization of 3,600 food safety professionals that provides members worldwide with a forum to exchange information on protecting the global food supply. The IAFP Annual Meeting is attended by more than 2,500 of the top industry, academic and governmental food safety professionals from six continents.
The mission of FERN is to integrate the nation’s food testing laboratories at the local, state and federal levels into a network that is able to respond to emergencies involving biological, chemical or radiological contamination of food, whether accidental or intentional. FERN is a joint effort among the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other agencies dedicated to public health and security. WVDA has been a FERN member since 2005.
Other FERN-related projects at WVDA have included using a $220,000 grant to study the prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 in raw ground beef in West Virginia, and providing food testing for national political conventions and presidential inauguration activities.
Department of Agriculture