UK food microbiology lab notes less contact with the EU

The UK leaving the European Union has resulted in diminished communication between UK and EU meals networks, based on a brand new report.

The annual report covers work of the UK’s nationwide reference laboratory (NRL) for meals microbiology between April 2021 and March 2022.

The UK Well being Safety Company (UKHSA) gives this service for the Meals Requirements Company (FSA) for Listeria monocytogenes, coagulase-positive staphylococci, E. coli, Campylobacter, Salmonella and antimicrobial resistance.

Lowered info sharing

The NRL has had much less contact with the European Union Reference Laboratories (EURLs) after the UK left the EU. Displays from the Listeria EURL assembly are on restricted entry webpages, which the NRL can not entry.

UKHSA is not a part of the EURL Listeria problem testing working teams and couldn’t attend many of the EURL annual workshops and coaching. Participation in the entire genome sequencing EURL has considerably diminished or halted.

For the reason that COVID-19 pandemic and leaving the EU, there was a downward development in reporting potential EU outbreaks to the UK NRL. Within the reporting interval, just one alert from the Salmonella EURL and one from the Listeria EURL have been obtained. The UK NRL additionally requested info from the EURLs on sources of explicit strains to assist home incidents.

UKHSA obtained three outbreak alerts from the E. coli EURL. Two from the USA and one from Eire. This was decrease than in earlier years, presumably because of the pandemic. The Salmonella EURL handed on an alert regarding outbreaks in the USA and Canada from Salmonella in onions.

The UK participated within the One Well being laboratory capability survey, which tried to benchmark human, veterinary, scientific diagnostic, meals, and feed microbiology methods throughout Europe. Outcomes haven’t but been revealed.

UKHSA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the European Centre for Illness Prevention and Management (ECDC) in December 2021 to assist reopen communication and shared studying on public well being threats by means of testing, surveillance and preparedness.

The EU has allowed the UK to take part in EURL proficiency exams. This gives the one path to get direct comparability with EU NRLs and make sure the UK NRL’s diagnostic and working requirements are corresponding to the EU’s, which is vital to facilitate commerce in and out of doors the EU, based on the report.

Home points

After leaving Europe, the UK deliberate to extend sampling of imported produce, which concerned the NRL.

An internet assembly in September held by UKHSA included displays from FSA, the 2019 EU One Well being report, and microbiology of uncooked milk and beef mince. Greater than 35 delegates attended from 11 official laboratories (OLs), UKHSA’s Gastrointestinal Micro organism Reference Unit (GBRU) and the Meals and Environmental Proficiency Testing Unit (FEPTU), FSA and FSS, the Northern Eire Public Well being Laboratory, Animal and Plant Well being Company (APHA) and Campden BRI.

Since leaving the EU, Campden BRI has been unable to attend EURL working group conferences and take part in EURL problem proficiency exams.

The NRL handled plenty of requests together with an inquiry as as to if indicator E.coli may very well be additional characterised from uncooked pet meals, a query on detection of Salmonella Nottingham in seafood, an FSA question about Listeria testing in Enoki mushrooms and one other about disinfectant use at border management posts.

Deliberate actions from April 2022 to March 2023 embrace publishing audit outcomes on official laboratory capabilities and necessities, working with the FSA on testing post-EU exit and liaising with CEFAS on E. coli and Salmonella in shellfish.

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