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Michael Barker

BY MICHAEL BARKER

@michaelbarker

New service to tackle contamination

Fera Science's OriGen uses Whole Genome Sequencing to pinpoint the source of bacterial contamination

New service to tackle contamination

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Fera Science has launched a new service that it claims could help prevent outbreaks such as the recent E.coli case in salad.

OriGen uses Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) to identify the source and trace the route of bacterial contamination, allowing food manufacturers to find the cause of the problem and ensure it is dealt with properly. It is being billed as a key new tool in the protection of the integrity of the UK’s food supply chains.

The new service takes samples from across the product supply and processing chain to establish the exact source of a contamination using WGS, and is said to be accurate enough to pinpoint a single machine as the root cause.

The new test can find the source of three major foodborne bacteria in the UK – salmonella, listeria and campylobacter. A test for pathogenic E.coli is also being made available due to the recent outbreaks and demand from the industry.

Andrew Hudson, head of microbiology for Fera Science 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’ll have the assurance that they are doing everything they can to find the root cause of the issue – and the confidence that they won’t 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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