Colorado State University to Co-host International E. coli Symposium

Colorado State University food safety researchers have been selected to co-host the premier international scientific meeting dealing with dangerous foodborne E. coli infections that continue to pose global health concerns.

The 9th International Symposium on Verocytotoxin Producing Escherichia coli Infections (VTEC) will be held in Boston in 2015. The Agricultural Research Service’s Food Safety Program and Ohio State University are the other two hosts. Organized every three years, VTEC was last held in Amsterdam earlier this month and hasn’t been hosted by the United States in 18 years.

Verocytotoxin, or Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, include E. coli O157:H7 — a dangerous strain that often leads to bloody diarrhea and can cause kidney failure, especially in young children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. However, other Shiga toxin-producing E. coli strains are also associated with disease, including a recent outbreak of E. coli O26 linked to raw clover sprouts that infected 29 people in 11 states (

“The ongoing adoption of the Food Safety Modernization Act, which mandates increased testing for bacterial pathogens such as VTEC in foods, and the recent USDA institution of a zero-tolerance policy for six additional strains of VTEC (such as E. coli O26) in raw beef manufacturing trim places the United States at the forefront of research and surveillance for these bacteria, which continue to emerge as important causes of acute foodborne illness” said Lawrence Goodridge, Colorado State University food microbiologist and one of the meeting’s hosts.

This year, VTEC gathered more than 500 researchers from 39 countries.

An associate professor and researcher with Colorado State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences, Goodridge specializes in the development of novel methods to detect and control the spread of foodborne pathogens, with a specific focus on development of detection methods and prophylaxis for VTEC.

For more information about the symposium (including opportunities for co-sponsorship), contact Goodridge at or (970) 491-6271.