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Businesses involved in the processing, preparation or handling of food are being encouraged to utilise the Scientific Research Council’s (SRC)’s swab testing services in order to ensure that food contact surfaces are free of pathogens that can cause illnesses.

The process involves microbiological testing of food processing and preparation surfaces, equipment and utensils, using various swab techniques to find out if pathogens are present.

Environmental swabbing can inform food business owners and food regulators about the cleanliness of areas used to prepare food.

Speaking at a recent JIS Think Tank, Marketing and Corporate Communications Manager at SRC, Carolyn Rose Miller, said it is recommended that businesses do swab testing to verify whether their cleaning and sanitation programmes are effective. “The SRC continues to support industry, and one of the ways we continue to do this is by working at becoming relevant to the needs of various industries. In response to this pandemic and to provide support, we are offering testing services, which can promote business and trade,” she noted.

She further highlighted that an environmental swab test can make food business operators more competitive and ensures their compliance within the requirements of the local and international marketplace.

Executive Director of the SRC, Dr. Cliff Riley, explained that the testing is conducted through the agency’s Analytical Services Department, which has an International Standards Organization (ISO) 17025-accredited laboratory.

“Public safety remains the order of the day, especially during this coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, so we’ve expanded the programme to ensure that we can effectively meet the demand to carry out testing. We want to help food industry operators instil confidence in their customers about their operations, especially during this time of uncertainty,” he noted.

Common swab tests performed by the SRC include testing for total coliform, faecal coliform. E. coli, salmonella, staphylococcus aureus, yeast, mould and mesophilic aerobic plate count.

Interested entities can simply contact the SRC at 876 927 1771-4 or visit the agency’s website at www.src.gov.jm

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