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15th May 2012  Content supplied by: 

Rapid Tests Support FSA Initiatives for Safer Food

Hygiena International is supporting the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and local authorities by supplying simple, rapid test systems that provide instant information about surface cleanliness and its associated risks. The tests assist food law enforcement officers in inspections by identifying hotspots and inadequate hygiene practices. Corrective actions and advice on Good Manufacturing Practices can be provided on-the-spot together with real time objective measurements. The immediacy of the test results has a powerful impact on food processors and food handlers.

Helen Cameron (Senior Environmental Health Practitioner (Food Safety), Worcestershire Regulatory Services) said: "If a place looks clean it might not be. ATP Swabs are an excellent tool for verifying cleaning standards. Swabs taken at more than one high risk business, which looked very clean and appeared to be heading for a good Food Hygiene Rating Scheme rating, subsequently proved to have high ATP readings. Further investigations brought to light that employees weren't following established cleaning regimes, re-using cloths, etc. Without the SystemSURE it is unlikely this issue would have been identified."

"A 2-year project in Worcester confirmed the agreement between a range of formal lab swabs and the ATP results. It has brought poor hygiene and cleaning practices to the attention of Food Business operators (FBO's) and head chefs, and also demonstrates to all staff that the effort they put into cleaning is not wasted."

Statistics indicate that every year food poisoning costs the UK >£500 million, 19 million sick days, 20,000 hospital admissions and 500 deaths. However the application of Hygiena technology enables the FSA and food inspectors in their mission to ensure that high standards of food safety are maintained by the coaching and encouraging of FBO's to adopt best practice. Hygiena's technology is called ATP bioluminescence and it measures 2 of the 4 areas that FBO's should focus upon as part of their management of food safety, within the FSA coaching plan i.e. cross contamination and cleaning that typically cause 25% of food poisoning incidents. The SystemSURE Plus is a small portable instrument which uses an all-in-one reagent swab device to test surface hygiene as well as monitoring water quality in static and mobile catering facilities.

Other new tests that can be used on the SystemSURE Plus include CrossCheck that specifically measure raw meat residues and cross contamination as well as verifying cooking. Other simple disposable colour hygiene tests such as ProClean and SpotCheck Plus are available that can be used directly by butchers and small caterers themselves to monitor cleaning practices and demonstrate due diligence.


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Date Published: 15th May 2012

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