Feed additive marks poultry meat contamination
Scientists at Aberystwyth University in Wales are developing a system to identify miniscule traces of faecal contamination on chicken carcases in abattoirs that can cause deadly food poisoning outbreaks.
The Improved Food Safety initiative - a Collaborative Industrial Research Project undertaken by the University’s Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS) - aims to develop a natural additive to poultry feed that will result in ultra-violet fluorescence of faeces.
The additive, a water soluble chlorophyll based marker approved by the Food Standards Agency, would be fed to poultry during the last few days of finishing. When screened in abattoirs using fluorescence imaging, the markers would show up and identify any contamination.
The research project is supported with funding from the Welsh Government’s Academic Expertise for Business (A4B), an initiative backed by European funding designed to increase collaboration between academia and industry and drive forward the commercialisation of research.
Private sector partners involved in the project include supermarket Waitrose, food suppliers and wholesalers, a regional abattoir, Wynnstay Group, leading producers and retailers of animal feeds and British Chlorophyll Company, Europe’s leading manufacturer and supplier of chlorophyll.
The project builds on novel technology IBERS is currently developing to detect faecal contamination of red meat. That project has developed markers that can be added to the diet of ruminants to increase fluorescence of faecal matter that can be detected when screened.
A patent application has been filed for this technology and resulted in significant industry attention with requests to take up licensing of the technology in China and India, as well as significant interest from the US and Latin America.
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