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SEBASTIAN, Fla. -- eMerge Interactive, Inc., a technology company providing food safety, individual-animal tracking and supply-procurement services to the beef-production industry announced that successful studies have led them to launch a product development program to design the first system for detecting human fecal contamination on human hands -- a VerifEYE technology-based tool to help reduce the spread of viral and bacterial infections among the healthcare, childcare and food service industries.
Following an initial field study in 2002 with a regional hospital in central Florida, eMerge conducted a subsequent research program. The results of these two studies support the application of its VerifEYE food safety technology for use in detecting microscopic traces of human feces.
According to Richard Stroman, executive vice president of eMerge's VerifEYE Technologies, "The test results were so encouraging that we're now undertaking development efforts to design the first device for examining human hand hygiene. Our initial research indicates strong interest in the potential application of new hand scanners in the food service, healthcare, childcare and nursing home industries where employee hygiene is a constant challenge. There are more than 550,000 such facilities in the U.S., presenting a considerable market opportunity and allowing us to expand beyond the beef production industry."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that foodborne diseases cause roughly 76 million illnesses and 5,000 deaths annually in this country alone. The FDA's Food Safety & Applied Nutrition has identified the fecal-oral route as the primary vehicle for transmission of organisms causing such illnesses as viral gastroenteritis and food poisoning.
"Clearly, there is an enormous need for tools to detect and eliminate trace levels of fecal material, which is the primary carrier of food-borne illness causing pathogens," continued Stroman. "We believe VerifEYE to be a breakthrough solution and we filed an initial patent application on the system earlier this year. We are designing the unit to be cost-effective and simple to operate. Further research and expanded testing of a hand scan prototype device will take place early next year, followed by expected trials in a commercial environment in mid-2004."
Source: eMerge Interactive, Inc.