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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

26/11/2014: New quick test to highlight toxins in tuna!

R-Biopharm Rhône, one of Scotland's most important food safety companies, has launched a new test to detect toxins in fish which have affected thousands of people round the world and hundreds in the UK alone.
 
The Glasgow-based manufacturer, which is Scotland's biggest exporter of diagnostic test kits, has unveiled a rapid test to pinpoint minute quantities of histamine, which can produce symptoms similar to an allergic reaction.


It is the latest in a series of food safety initiatives from R-Biopharm Rhône, which was at the forefront of food safety in the horsemeat scandal of 2012 and has spearheaded investigatory testing as concerns mount about cheap fish being substituted for expensive fish.
 
The new test is particularly relevant to products such as tuna, mackerel, anchovy, herring, bluefish, sardines, pilchards, marlin and even salmon.Histamine occurs naturally when some foods spoil, and what makes it problematic is that it is not depleted by food processing. The toxin survives cooking, canning and freezing and may be undetectable unless chemically analysed.

Simon Bevis, managing director of R-Biopharm Rhône, said: "European legislation dictates that a number of fish species should be tested for the presence of histamine. Samples should contain less than 100 parts per million and if a batch exceeds 200 ppm it should be considered unsatisfactory.
 
"This test is the latest development from R-Biopharm Rhône which will help safeguard public health and will allow consumers to have greater confidence in products which they are eating on a regular basis."

Histamine can occur in fast swimming and migratory finfish with red coloured meat. The symptoms appear quickly and include oral burning or tingling, skin rash, localised inflammation, hypotension, headaches and flushing, which can lead to misdiagnosis.

The highest numbers of cases are reported in the UK, the US and Japan. Between 1992 and 2009, England and Wales reported 71 outbreaks affecting 336 people. In the US between 1968 and 1980, 103 outbreaks involving 827 people were reported and in Japan over the same period there were 42 outbreaks affecting 4,122 people.
 
R-Biopharm Rhône, which is based in the West of Scotland Science Park in Glasgow, now employs 50 people, including 15 research and development scientists and is actively recruiting more production staff. 
 
For further information, contact Simon Bevis HERE.

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