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New partnership supports food safety in the Middle East

United Arab Emirates: Monday, July 21 - 2008 @ 07:36

Intertek, a leading international provider of quality and safety services, has completed the agreement with Alaska Food Diagnostics to deploy their rapid, specific pathogen detection systems for a range of the region’s most prestigious names in hospitality.

With a rising number of tourists visiting the Middle East every year – Dubai alone is expected to welcome 15 million visitors by 2015 – as well as a growing population, the need for fast analysis of food-based pathogens, such as salmonella and e.coli, has never been greater. Salmonella bacteria are the most frequently reported cause of food borne illness in the Middle East.

Anthony Wilkinson, Business Manager, Intertek Dubai Food and Water Services, said,

“There is increasing awareness of the importance of food inspection and safety certification across the region’s hospitality industry and new advances in technology are enabling faster diagnosis and better detection rates. Working with Alaska Food Diagnostics will enable us to ensure that companies in the region are performing to the highest possible standard in terms of protecting their customers.”

While the technology has been developed to service the entire food manufacturing sector, Gulf companies from the aviation and hospitality sectors will be among the earliest adopters of the new systems. Jumeriah International, Emirates Flight Catering Company, Etihad and Gulf Air are among the major names that are exploring the technology.

Through the partnership, Intertek’s team of experts will deploy Alaska’s range of advanced rapid detection systems on-site for catering teams and departments. The technology provides results in less than 24 hours, as opposed to the standard 3-6 days that comes with conventional methods.

Laurence Callow, CEO, Alaska Food Diagnostics confirms, “Many of the leading companies in the field are recognising the benefits of introducing this technology both to safeguard their customers and passengers, and also to ensure faster processing and reduce storage costs. Food safety is one of the highest priorities for hospitality organisations, so it is very encouraging to see so many prestigious GCC brands take the lead in using these systems.”

The deployment of a faster and more effective diagnostic system helps to reduce a number of the specific challenges facing a hospitality industry that is managing an ever-increasing volume of visitors.

Alaska Food Diagnostics’ fastrAK uses familiar culture and immunomagnetic methods combined with groundbreaking AK Phage technology, and compared with other rapid techniques has a lower cost per test, detects viable cells, kills the pathogen and reduces the risk of contamination. Extremely easy to use in the laboratory, the assay has a total ‘hands on’ time of less than 15 minutes.

Alaska Food Diagnostics Ltd is a unique joint venture, between the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), the UK Government’s centre of scientific excellence based at Porton Down, and private investors including a number in the Gulf region. The company benefits from 10 years of government funded development of its patented fastrAK technology.

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Monday, July 21- 2008 @ 7:36 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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