A self-contained on-farm campylobacter testing kit has been launched by Merck Milipore that promises a positive/negative test result within two hours.

The Singlepath Kit will allow “financially relevant logistical descisions” to be made quicker, such as isolating contaminated sheds before campylobacter can spread to other areas, says the firm.

Currently, the most common practice is to post a sample to a lab for analysis, which will provide the level of contamination, but can take several days to complete.

An alternative method is real-time PCR which can yield results in three hours, but still needs to be undertaken in a laboratory setting.

“New policies, which focus on prevention rather than contamination response, are being implemented to protect consumers,” said Charlotte Londhardt, a product manager at Merck Milipore. “The Singlepath kit helps shift that focus to prevention and achieve faster, reliable results without the need for a laboratory, expensive instrumentation or skilled staff.”

A 2008 survey showed that 65% of chicken on sale in shops was contaminated with campylobacter. The Food Standards Agency estimates that the disease costs the UK economy around £900m a year.

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