Archive: January 2018

FSA investigation: withdrawal of meat products

steak-2272464_1280In January, the UK Food Standards Agency announced that it had taken action at a major meat business, resulting in a voluntary withdrawal of the manufacturer’s products from the supply chain and a stop on all products leaving the manufacturer’s various sites. The action came after an unannounced inspection of the company’s Birmingham site on the 12th January, where serious non-compliance with food hygiene regulations was apparent. The business supplies a wide range of catering and hospitality outlets, including care homes and schools; the concern resulting from the investigation was of a systemic and widespread problem, which was more serious due to its scale and nature. Professor Chris Elliott tweeted on these reports that ‘this will further undermine trust in the entire UK food industry’. It also coincides with the FSA’s own biannual Public Attitude tracker where respondents rated ‘Food hygiene when eating out’ as the top food safety concern. The withdrawal should serve as a reminder of the importance of the management of suppliers of raw materials and packaging, which was a new fundamental in the 7th issue of BRC’s Global Standard for Food Safety. The monitoring of suppliers helps avoid any potential risks, from raw materials (including packaging) to the safety, authenticity, legality and quality of final products. For example, where raw materials are identified as being at high risk of adulteration, appropriate assurance and/or testing processes should be in place, especially if the available methods of detecting adulteration would be easy to implement. Bio-Check’s Raw Meat FlowThrough™ tests take only a few minutes to perform with minimal skill, can detect adulteration at the 1% Action Limit or surface cross-contamination at low levels. The availability of such simple tests is already mitigating vulnerabilities in the supply chain and improving hygiene. Please contact us to discuss your plans.

Posted in Speciation

Calling time on allergen mislabelling

Product recallIn the UK food and drink industry, product recall figures due to the mislabelling of food allergens,  rose by 62% in 2015/16; according to a report by RPC. The start of this year has also seen high levels of recalls in the UK due to incorrect allergen labelling. The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) published in 2006, a guidance document for allergen control and labelling with recommendations for voluntary advisory ‘may contain’ labelling if justifiable cross-contamination may occur between allergenic and non-allergenic ingredients. These activities are part of its overall responsibilities for food safety and food hygiene, and need to be managed in a context of the UK Government facing increasing pressure on resources. The FSA’s Regulating Our Future programme aims to create a more robust, proportionate and sustainable model to keep pace with the complexity of the global food supply system. There is a need to do more with less and at a time when food allergy prevalence is rising; local authorities face ever-tightening budgets for enforcement and decreases in annual sampling; the National Food Crime Unit maintains that it needs more funding if it is to take on additional investigatory powers. These issues are not confined to the UK; following a critical review in 2017 by the Office of Inspector General in the US. the FDA is under increasing pressure to act faster and with greater transparency when processing product recalls. Draft guidance published by the FDA following the review, lists key circumstances where recalls may present serious hazards to health and public warnings should be issued. With Brexit approaching on the 29th  March 2019, there has never been a more pressing time for the UK to ensure the integrity of its food supply chain; documented evidence is required to demonstrate the allergen-free status of raw ingredients and finished food products. Testing doesn’t need to be unduly complicated, for example Bio-Check’s Gluten R5 FlowThrough tests offer reliable, fast and flexible testing suitable for a variety of food products or for environmental surfaces (for cleaning verification). The tests use the (Mendez) R5 monoclonal antibody, the same as that used in the Codex recommended laboratory method; the tests’ limit of detection limit is below the regulatory threshold of 20mg/kg in foods, when validated appropriately. Bio-Check also offers a range of Allergen-Check ELISAs to confirm initial findings using laboratory analysis – please contact us to discuss your plans.

Posted in Allergens

Easter holidays

easter eggOur offices will be closed on Friday 30th March (Good Friday) and Monday 2nd April (Easter Monday).

Customers are advised to ensure they have sufficient stocks of our test kits to cover this period.

Posted in About us

Horizon Scanning

MC900299701Some of the information tweeted @BioCheckUK in January:





  • Top 10 UK Food trends for 2018
  • FDA food recall process too slow
  • India’s FSSAI chief slams auditor’s report
  • Mycotoxin control in pet food
  • Two men appear in court over nut allergy death
  • Bugs may be causing a common crop mould to produce a deadly toxin
  • Food & drink recalls more than double in 2015/2016
  • Food Crime Unit needs up to £5m more to investigate fraud
  • 1 in 10 manufacturers? experienced high losses due to food fraud
  • 2018 is the year of NGS technology in food safety labs
  • A global perspective: the future of artificial intelligence
  • How does allergen dose impact on the severity of food-induced allergic reactions?
  • 2017 maize mycotoxin survey for Poland
  • Majority of labs pass mycotoxin proficiency tests
  • Meat crisis: Wetherspoon steak recall alert
  • Emerging pollutants: a growing concern for our oceans
  • FSA update on Russell Hume
  • The genetics of food allergy
  • Retailers and suppliers recall products due to allergens
  • China infant formula: safety rating hit 99.5% in 2017


Follow us on Twitter to receive timely information about food adulteration and food contaminant issues that could be important to your business.



Posted in About us