» UKAS Grants First Accreditation for Alternative Microbiological Test Kits

05 March, 2015

The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) has granted the UK’s first accreditation to Campden Certification Ltd to issue product certification of alternative microbiological test kits. Campden Certification Ltd is the first certification body to be accredited to BS EN 45011:1998 (General requirements for bodies operating product certification systems) for certification of the validation and on-going conformity of alternative microbiological test kits. The accreditation covers the certification of kits where Campden Certification Ltd itself manages the validation and certification process, and certification of validation work already performed by other organisations where validation is the responsibility of other organisations, in accordance with the ISO 16140 protocol.

Lee Humpheson, Assessment Manager at UKAS said. “UKAS was initially approached by Campden BRI in 2008, with a view to accrediting the process of validating ISO 16140 for food microbiology testing. The granting of this accreditation represents a significant step forward for the food testing industry. Ultimately it could allow for the delivery of test results to be speeded up whilst still maintaining confidence in the accuracy of the results.”

The microbiology testing for quality assurance purposes forms a crucial part of a food manufacturer’s armoury to assess and insure food safety as well as maintain product quality and shelf life. Traditional detection methods, particularly those relating to culture-based tests for the detection of Salmonella in foods, can continue to take several days to arrive at a confirmed result. This can be an issue for the food industry, which operates in a 24 hours a day seven days a week environment, particularly regarding short shelf-life goods.

To respond to the needs of food industry testing requirements, businesses supplying microbiology laboratories with test materials have developed several alternative testing methods to try and speed this process up. However, extensive validation of these testing methods is usually required, as the methods usually fall outside of current published international ISO standards. Until the granting of this accreditation this has been seen as a barrier to uptake within the food microbiology testing industry.

Pat Eycott, Systems Manager at Campden Certification Ltd said "Becoming the first certification body in the UK to be accredited to the new BS EN 45011 standard for certification of alternative microbiological methods means we can now offer clients a more efficient and straight forward approach to both validation and certification of alternative microbiological test kits. This in turn gives end users, such as the food industry, the necessary confidence in the performance of these methods as a viable alternative to the relevant standard methods."