New fast testing method for melamine

Wednesday 13 June 2007

Applied Biosystems (NYSE: ABI), an Applera Corporation business, and its joint venture partner, Sciex, a division of MDS Inc.’s Analytical Technologies business, (NYSE: MDZ, TSX: MDS), today announced the release of a new food testing method intended to help public health laboratories and food manufacturers improve food safety.

The new method to test for the chemicals melamine and cyanuric acid, called Food Testing Method for Melamine and Cyanuric Acid, is designed to increase the accuracy and reduce the amount of time to identify the harmful food contaminants melamine and cyanuric acid from 30 minutes to less than six minutes. This new method is based on a scientific technology called liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, which is used in laboratories for molecular analysis, including food testing. The Food Testing Method for Melamine and Cyanuric Acid is the first commercially available method to test for both contaminants simultaneously with this advanced technology.

Researchers at the University of Guelph’s Agriculture and Food Laboratory in Ontario, Canada were among the first scientists to identify melamine in tainted pet food in North America this year and to verify the need to test for cyanuric acid. Melamine is an industrial chemical used in plastics and fertilizer. Cyanuric acid is a chemical used in outdoor swimming pools and hot tubs. The concern that the harm of crystals formed from melamine and cyanuric acid, as identified in the kidneys of several pets that died this year, could extend to affect animals that humans consume – such as chickens and hogs – has driven the need for broader assessments of food safety.

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