A new kit is now available for the farming industry to test for Covid-19 on surfaces such as agricultural packaging and handling facilities.
Eurofins Agro UK, an agricultural materials analysis specialist, has introduced a way to test for the coronavirus on surfaces and equipment.
The ability to test offers a way to help protect farm employees and the public from the virus, as Covid-19 can survive on surfaces for 72 hours.
The kit packages have been developed for agriculture and are derived from other tests, produced by parent company Eurofins Scientific, that are already being used globally.
The kits contain swabs that are used to take a sample from potentially contaminated surfaces on the farm.
Any surface that has a high risk of spreading the virus between employees such as door handles, communal toilets, machinery and vehicles can be tested regularly to prevent spread.
Regular testing can be used to monitor and eventually strengthen the effectiveness of any measures put in place to protect against the virus, Eurofins Agro UK said.
For example, the kits could highlight problems with a cleaning regime, allowing users to restrict access to a contaminated area and perform a deep clean.
The tests can identify the presence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes Covid-19.
The SARS-CoV-2 test screens for the envelope gene (E-gene) present in a broad range of SARS- and SARS-related coronaviruses.
It has an initial screening assessment to be used in conjunction with an Ident kit as a confirmation.
This two-step procedure has been developed with the testing procedure recommended by the World Health Organisation.
It comes as the government released specific advice to farming businesses on how to operate safely during the Covid-19 crisis.
Farm business have been told to take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission between staff.
Those looking for more information Eurofins' kits have been asked to contact the firm directly on 01902 627 227 or email AgroTesting@eurofins.co.uk.