Listeria can be found in a wide range of foods, including milk, soft cheeses and pate. In some cases, it can lead to fatal infections in young children and the elderly, and cause miscarriages in pregnant women.
Swinburne’s lead researcher on the project to test for the disease, Professor Enzo Palombo, said, “Current standard methods to detect Listeria in food rely on biochemical testing takes four to five days to confirm a positive result.” Not only is this process costly and time consuming for the food industry, it is not always entirely reliable. His team has developed a new, rapid detection technique which can detect very low levels of listeria in numerous different types of food at a low cost.
Professor Palombo suggested that with proper investment, the same technique could be used for other foodborne diseases, leading the way to safer food all over the world.