UA announces collaboration to protect consumers from food contamination

March 18, 2011

Contact information:

Steven C. Ricke, Center for Food Safety
479-575-4678 /

Brian Umberson, Litmus Rapid-B
870-268-9603 /

Dave Edmark, Division of Agriculture communications
479-575-5647 /

UA announces collaboration to protect consumers from food contamination


Personnel from the UA Center for Food Safety (CFS) and Litmus Rapid-B met recently in a food science laboratory at the Fayetteville campus. From left are Robert Story, CFS program specialist; Ok Kyung Koo, CFS postdoctoral associate; Melinda Miller, Litmus Rapid-B staff scientist; Steven C. Ricke, CFS director, and Brian Umberson, Litmus Rapid-B sales and marketing manager.


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture’s Center for Food Safety (CFS) has entered into a public-private collaboration with Litmus Rapid-B, LLC (LRB), a Little Rock-based biotechnology company, to develop research that will lead the fight against consumer sickness and death attributed to food contamination.

Each year roughly 3,000 Americans die from food borne illnesses.  Forty-eight million get sick.  More than 100,000 are hospitalized.  The Centers for Disease Control estimates that one out of six people is affected by this growing issue.

The collaborative research is intended to improve identification of foodborne bacteria such as E.coli and Salmonella throughout processing and distribution points to create value for the food processing industry and consumers.  LRB recently placed its system at the Center for Food Safety, which is the first LRB system deployed to any university in the United States.

"The LRB system allows us to pinpoint specific bacteria faster than any other current methods," said Litmus Rapid-B president Ted Moskal.  "Ultimately, this allows for earlier detection and management of food contamination inside the processing plant." 

Moskal added that this is a win/win for the food processors and the public – less risk of exposure to the public, less product loss for the processors.

Steven C. Ricke, Center for Food Safety director, said, "Developing collaborative relationships with commercial partners such as Litmus Rapid-B really enhances the Center's ability to more closely interface with the food industry to solve not only current food safety issues but develop solutions for potential issues before they become a major problem."

LRB developed the system in conjunction with scientists at the National Center for Toxicological Research, an agency of the Food and Drug Administration in Jefferson, Ark. 

"Our partnership with Litmus Rapid-B could advance research and development efforts for the CFS and our industry partners as well as create new protocols for maintaining clean processing environments," Ricke said. 

The goal of the collaborative research effort is to provide the quickest and most accurate data to develop bacterial controls that protect consumers from sickness and death.

Website links

UA Center for Food Safety

UA Food Science Department

Litmus Rapid-B