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Food, Water and Environmental (FWE) Services

Principal functions

  • To provide comprehensive, professional, cost effective and accredited microbiological testing of food, dairy products and water for private and public customers in Wales in pursuit of protecting the public from infection through routine surveillance and outbreak investigation.
  • To carry out relevant and cost effective research into specific and relevant aspects of food and water quality and safety, as determined by the needs of Public Health Wales, the Welsh Government, central Government, the national Food Standards Agency and the Food Standards Agency for Wales.
  • To provide consultancy, advice and training as required by public bodies and private companies.

Routine testing

The Food, Water and Environmental sections of Public Health Wales carry out a wide range of methods for the examination of all types of foods and waters.

These tests include standard microbial quality indicators such as aerobic colony counts, fungal counts, coliforms, faecal streptococci (enterococci), Listeria species, Enterobacteriaceae and Escherichia coli and specific pathogens associated with food and water such as CampylobacterSalmonella, Listeria monocytogenesE.coli O157, coagulase positive StaphylococcusClostridium perfringensBacillus cereusLegionellaCryptosporidium and Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Locations

Within Public Health Wales there are four centres providing microbiological services linked to testing food, water or environmental samples.  Three centres (Bangor, Cardiff and Carmarthen as seen below) collectively provide a wide test repertoire working to common methods and can give advice on sample collection, appropriate tests to undertake in a given situation and any relevant statutory tests.  

Test repertoires at each site reflect the mix of samples that Local Authorities and private customers request in their area.  Legionella culture from water samples is only available at the Cardiff site.  

These three sites are all official food control laboratories for Wales and they are all UKAS accredited (test schedules are available at http://www.ukas.org/testing/labsearch.asp).  Two of the centres are based in their respective Public Health Wales Microbiology laboratories but the third site (Cardiff) is based at the Llandough hospital site.

The fourth centre is the Cryptosporidium Reference Unit (CRU), based at Public Health Wales Microbiology, Swansea. This does not provide the range of services found at the other four sites but provides advice related to sampling for Cryptosporidium; confirmation of identification and management and control of the parasite.

Testing for Cryptosporidium in water samples in undertaken on behalf of the CRU by CREH Analytical Limited in Leeds, an arrangement supported by a memorandum of understanding.  The CRU in Swansea is the England and Wales reference centre for genotyping Cryptosporidium isolates.

Below is a listing of all the five sites and the key individuals who can be contacted by telephone about the service that Public Health Wales can provide. To send a query to a particular site via this website, please use the on-line enquiry forms provided for each laboratory. Please either contact your nearest local laboratory or the CRU specifically in relation to Cryptosporidium if you need further information.
 

Bangor

 
Dylan Evans UKAS Technical/IT Systems Manager 01248 384277
Amanda Roberts Food Examiner 01248 384718
Elaine Burdock Food Examiner 01248 384718
Kim Bowden Laboratory Manager 01248 384277

Carmarthen

 
Sharon Williams Food Examiner 01267 227587
Gary Williams Deputy Quality Manager 01267 227587
Andrew P Keen Laboratory Manager/Acting Quality Lead/Food Examiner 01267 237271

Cardiff

 
Debbie Charles Section Head, Quality Manager, Food Examiner 029 2071 6745
Paul Ellis Team Manager, Deputy Quality Manager, Food Examiner 029 2071 5301

Swansea

 
Professor Rachel Chalmers Head, Cryptosporidium Reference Unit 01792 285341

Consultancy

The Food, Water and Environmental sections of Public Health Wales are able to carry out consultancy for private companies, including testing for a range of microbial indicators and pathogens in food and water.

We can also carry out shelf life evaluations. Prices for this service are very competitive and the laboratories can offer an efficient and rapid service with most methods accredited. Our consultancy service is both professional and confidential.