At the start of the spread of COVID-19, other laboratories and experts identified suitable testing methods for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Based on scientific evidence, their understanding of the virus and the relevant applications in the food industry, they chose not to add this testing option to our testing catalogue.
FCS has adopted the same approach. Instead of using the expensive and possibly inaccurate (in this context) RT-PCR test (kits of which are currently in short supply for medical use, adding another dimension as to whether it is even ethical to “waste” them on this application), we advocate using the basic, highly reliable standard plate count that detects general microbes on a surface.
As a food microbiology laboratory and hygiene audit service provider, we are not able to test for the virus directly however, we are currently offering additional testing of surface and hand swabs, which are tested for SPC (standard plate count) bacteria. These tests serve as an indicator of general hygiene and sanitation. This allows us to provide feedback on how effective your hand washing/sanitising and increased cleaning regimes are.
Remember the main means of spreading SARS-CoV-2, like any respiratory virus, is through person-to-person contact, secondly, through small viral-laden droplets and aerosols and only in a much more limited way through touching surfaces. Nevertheless improved sanitation of such “high-volume hand-contact” surfaces is recommended, and here our standard plate count will provide objective, independent scientific verification of sanitation (as always).