New contamination identification process from Fera

A new contamination identification service for food manufacturers has been launched by agri-food solutions specialists Fera Science.

The service, named OriGen, uses Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) to trace the route of bacterial contamination, allowing food manufacturers to identify the precise source of the problem.

Fera claims the process, which takes samples from across the product supply and processing chain, is accurate enough to pinpoint a single machine as the root cause.

The new test can already locate the source of three major food-borne bacteria in the UK salmonella, listeria and campylobacter.

A test for pathogenic E. coli is also being made available due to demand from the industry following a series of recent outbreaks.
According to research carried out by the insurance firm Lockton, the number of food recalls by the Food Standards Agency in 2015 shot up 78% year on year.

Dr Andrew Hudson, head of microbiology for Fera, said: Food manufacturers know how expensive a recall can be, and how much damage a contaminated product batch can do to their reputation.

With OriGen they will have the assurance that they are doing everything they can to find the root cause of the issue and the confidence that they wont have to see another costly recall due to the same product.

WGS allows for a new level of precision in dealing with bacteria entering the food-supply chain, dramatically increasing the chances of minimising future contamination from the same source.

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