Scientists in lab

Product testing company Intertek, working with poultry processor Faccenda, has launched a new campylobacter testing facility, which it says will help reduce the 280,000 related cases of food poisoning in the UK every year.

Based at its laboratory in Derby, the facility uses a single-step procedure – involving colony growth on selective agar – to produce a “negative” or “presumed positive” result within 48 hours.

Enumeration takes a further day, providing clients with an accurate assessment of the number of colonies/gram in the original sample in about half the time taken using established testing techniques.

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The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has also used this method for its campylobacter investigations, and now both the traditional and enumeration methods of testing are available to all parts of the poultry industry.

Intertek declined to comment on exact costs, saying it depended on the number of samples and the transport costs, but said they were “highly competitive in the market”.

“We work in partnership with our clients, so we are able to respond swiftly to provide expertise and facilities that accommodate the immediate needs of the industry,” said technical director John Searle. “The ongoing work with Faccenda means we have developed expert laboratories, fully equipped to tackle campylobacter.”