Campden BRI, a provider of technical, legislative and scientific support and research to the food and drinks industry worldwide, has extended its accreditation by UKAS to cover authenticity testing of DNA-based meat species.

UKAS accreditation is a recognised international standard for competence, impartiality and performance capability.

Originally developed by Campden BRI for the Food Standards Agency (FSA) over ten years ago, the test uses real-time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) to allow sensitive detection of meat species. The demand for accredited testing in this area follows the heightened interest in species testing in the last 12 months. The accreditation is timely as the FSA is now encouraging the industry to test for species cross-contamination at levels less than 1.0% on a weight for weight basis. Thus, standard immunoassay tests used by the industry are not sensitive enough.

Steve Garrett, authenticity team leader at Campden BRI, commented: "Adulteration and authenticity of meat products was brought to the fore in 2013 when a number of UK-processed beef products were found to contain horse meat. Demand for our meat-testing service increased dramatically and we allocated extra resource to ensure we could cope with demand from our members and clients.

"Our accredited service currently covers beef, chicken, lamb, pork and turkey, but more importantly the UKAS accreditation is flexible, enabling us to add further animal species in future and react to the needs of the food industry."

The UKAS accreditation of Campden BRI’s meat species identification testing follows on from the UKAS accreditation for its DNA-based fish species identification service, which the company received in 2005 – again based on methods it developed through a series of projects, supported by the FSA.