In the difficult and extraordinary
times of a Coronavirus pandemic, Bio-Check
(UK) would like to reassure its customers, staff, suppliers and other stakeholders that we are
continually reviewing – in line with WHO, NHS and UK
Government advice –
and escalating the measures we take to mitigate the adverse impact
of the effects of the virus.
The UK Coronavirus Act 2020, which received Royal Assent on
25th March, provides the UK Government with the emergency powers it
needs to tackle the further spread of the virus. In this Act, the key workers list includes all those who are
involved with the provision of key goods necessary for the manufacture and supply of food. Bio-Check (UK) is
naturally pleased to play its part, ensuring that its food testing kits (e.g.
for detection of gluten, food allergens, mycotoxins) continue to be available
to help food manufacturers provide all of us – especially the vulnerable – with safe
food of the stated quality.
We urge all
existing and potential users of our test kits to discuss their changing requirements with us over the
course of this outbreak;
by doing so,
Bio-Check can better ensure the continuity of
supplies for all.
If you need more
information about our products and the stocks available, please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org.
By heeding the medical and behavioural (social distancing) advice being provided by the NHS and UK Government, you, your colleagues, families, friends and neighbours will have the best chance of keeping safe and well.
Contract Manufacture of LFDs
Bio-Check (UK) develops and
manufactures a range of rapid “on-site/point of care” tests (lateral flow
devices) including for the detection of disease antibodies in blood. We have an
on-farm test for antibodies to cattle/sheep liver flukes and, more pertinently,
several tests to detect very low levels of human (IgE) antibodies indicative of
allergic/anaphylactic reactions. Importantly, we manufacture device components
that are CE marked for home use as well as doctors; the device uses tiny
quantities of whole, finger-prick blood, removes the problem of “prozoning”
(high dose hook; overloading) by non-specific antibodies; test results are
available in a few minutes. Bio-Check’s management team has many decades of
experience in the fields of in vitro diagnostic testing for medical diagnostics
and research, pharmaceutical analysis and food testing applications. Our
Quality Management System is ISO9001:2015 certified.
This information is compiled from online sources accessed on 31-March-2020:
A new strain of virus is causing Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in humans. The new SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV), called SARS-CoV-2, from the Coronaviridae family of viruses that primarily infect birds and mammals, is a positive-strand RNA virus. It was first discovered in December 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei Province of China, and sequenced and isolated in January 2020. The resulting outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 has caused the coronavirus infectious disease 2019 (COVID-19). SARS-CoV-2 is not the same as an influenza virus, it belongs to a different family of RNA viruses. COVID-19 and influenza, both cause respiratory illnesses spread from person to person through tiny droplets containing the virus, during exhalation and in coughs and sneezes. The symptoms of the diseases have some important differences, including that SARS-CoV-2 spreads and potentially kills more readily. Globally, it has spread to be a pandemic (WHO, 11 March 2020). Unlike many respiratory viruses, it seems to infect both the upper and lower respiratory tract.
Food has not been identified as a
likely source or route of transmission of the virus according to EFSA. The
virus is spread through direct contact with respiratory droplets from an
infected person, as described above. Furthermore, it is believed that the virus
is sensitive to heat and that the typical temperature and time regimes of
cooking to ensure food safety are sufficient to inactive the virus and reduce
Each spherical SARS-CoV-2 virus
particle (about 80-90nm in size) consists of the RNA genome enclosed by a viral
envelope, a lipid bilayer with structural proteins, including glycoprotein
spikes that protrude from the particle surface to form a ‘corona’ or crown of
spikes. The coronavirus spikes are known to play a key role in how it infects
the host human cell. The viral envelope protects the virus when outside the
host cell in the environment.
With aerial (direct) and surface
(indirect) transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the stability of SARS-CoV-2 has been reported by the New England
Journal of Medicine to be more stable on plastic and stainless steel than on
cardboard, and viable virus was detected up to 72 hours after application to
these surface, although the virus titre was greatly reduced. On cardboard, no
viable SARS-CoV-2 was measured after 24 hours. Results indicate that aerosol
and indirect transmission by contaminated objects is plausible, since the virus
can remain viable and infectious in aerosols for hours and on surfaces up to
days (depending on the inoculum shed).
Although it is unlikely that SARS-CoV-2 is spread by contaminated food it is advisable to ensure social distancing in a food plant together with robust personal (e.g. frequent handwashing and not touching the face) and food safety hygiene during food preparation to prevent cross-contamination (e.g. by handling and objects) and to heat food to reduce the risk when appropriate. Washing hands is believed to be effective at inactivating the virus, because the soap or liquid detergent disrupts the lipid bilayer of the SARS-CoV-2 causing the virus particle to disintegrate and be easily rinsed away. Although there have been no studies on the effectiveness of formulated disinfectants against SARS-CoV-2 on food contact surfaces (following the important detergent cleaning and rinsing stages), those with an oxidising nature such as hypochlorite, peracetic acid and hydrogen peroxide are likely to be effective at an appropriate working concentration (please discuss with your cleaning chemical supplier).
Recently developed analytical methods for detecting SARS-CoV-2 in food and on food surfaces typically target at least two genes in the virus genome (e.g. coding for the envelope or the nucleocapsid). Following sampling and RNA extraction a sensitive Real-Time RT-PCR technique is employed for detection.
Please refer to the latest official
guidance and peer reviewed references when formulating policy, practices and
procedures on mitigating the risks posed by COVID-19. Some helpful references
and hyperlinks are listed below:
Van Doremalen et al., (2020) Aerosol
and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1 The New England
Journal of Medicine, Letter to the Editor 17 March 2020 https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMc2004973
All the Swab kits in the FlowThrough™ range are currently being modified, to improve both the ease of use and the reliability of these tests. From March 2020, an individual test in each new batch of the Gluten R5, Food Allergen and Raw Meat FlowThrough™ Swab kits will now consist of three-components: the one-piece Swab Device, Colour Reagent and Test Unit. This improvement in format will mean that the test will not ‘overload’ at higher levels should they be encountered in difficult to clean sampling sites. The potential for false negative results is therefore reduced, improving the test reliability and the confidence in decision making when verifying the important task of cleaning.
Vicam’s AflaTest has been re-certified by the USDA Federal Grain Inspection Service for the quantitative determination of aflatoxins in corn gluten meal, distillers dried grain with solubles, milled rice (including brewer’s rice and glutinous rice), popcorn, sorghum as well as corn (including field corn, corn meal, corn flour, cracked corn, corn grits or polenta, and corn screenings). The Certificates of Conformance are now available. Bio-Check also offer Vicam’s lateral flow devices with the Vertu reader for a wide range of quantitative mycotoxin testing (total aflatoxins, aflatoxin M1, deoxynivalenol, fumonisins, ochratoxin). For example, the Afla-V strip tests accurately detect and measure total aflatoxins B1, B2, G1, and G2 at levels as low as 2 µg/kg and as high as 100 µg/kg . The tests can be easily performed on-site or in the lab, require no special training and have a long shelf life. Screen, quantify, and confirm mycotoxin levels with total confidence.
Medicinal cannabis (cannabis and cannabinoids) and the non-psychotic cannabinoid (cannabidiol, CBD) based foods have in recent years seen a global increase in their popularity together with increasing regulatory scrutiny in terms of their safety. Cannabinoids are derived from a variety of the Cannabis sativa (hemp) plant which is grown industrially. The flowers of the Cannabis plant and products derived from cannabis are susceptible to natural contamination by moulds capable of producing mycotoxins. The laboratories of Vicam, a Waters business, has chosen to use its AflaOchra immunoaffinity column with LC MS/MS for the analysis of aflatoxins and ochratoxins in cannabis. Recently, it took part in the Emerald Proficiency testing scheme and the results they submitted demonstrated their competence in performing this method within acceptable standards of accuracy and precision. These results underlie the reliability of AflaOchra columns in this growing and emerging field of analysis.
In the difficult and extraordinary times of a Coronavirus pandemic, Bio-Check (UK) would like to reassure its customers, staff, suppliers and other stakeholders that we are continually reviewing – in line with WHO, NHS and UK Government advice – and escalating the measures we take to mitigate the adverse impact developing as a result of the effects of the virus.
The UK Coronavirus Bill,
which was announced on 18 March, will provide the UK Government with the
emergency powers it needs to tackle the further spread of the virus. In this
proposed bill, the key workers list includes all those who are involved with the provision
of key goods necessary for the manufacture and
supply of food. Bio-Check (UK) is naturally
pleased to play its part, to ensure that its food testing kits (e.g. for
detection of gluten, food allergens, mycotoxins) continue to be available to help food manufacturers
of us – especially the vulnerable – safe food of the stated quality.
We urge all existing and
potential users of our test kits to discuss their changing requirements
with us over the course of this outbreak; by doing so, Bio-Check can better
ensure the continuity of supplies for all.
If you need more information
about our products and the stocks available, please contact us email@example.com.
By heeding the medical and behavioural advice
being provided by the NHS and UK Government, you, your colleagues, families, friends and neighbours will have the best chance of keeping safe and well.
Bio-Check’s Richard Fielder presented at SOFHT’s conference ‘Building an Allergen Safe Culture’ on the 27th February. He provided a test kit manufacturers perspective on the importance of sampling in food allergen analysis and considered some of the current practices and technical challenges to ensure that sampling and analysis is not flawed. Having effective sampling plans for food allergens is critical to checking that foods are safe, that harmful allergens are below acceptable levels and that labelling is correct. If the sample selected is not appropriate for these purposes, analytical results will not be reliable for these important decisions.
If you work for a food manufacturer, do you have time to complete a
4-minute survey on your current practices with food allergen sampling &
All contributors will remain anonymous, though the information collected
will be pooled and shared in the analytical community, as well as with these
individual contributors. The information is being collected in order to improve
best practice in the Food Industry. Further survey contributions are welcomed
in order to make a reasonably-sized data set.