UNITED KINGDOM — The UK Food Safety Research Network, hosted by Quadram Institute, announced that six food safety projects will receive between £30,000 to £62,000 (roughly $36,544 USD to $73,089 USD) in funds. One of the projects aims to improve food safety of raw pet food formulas.

All six projects involve academic researchers collaborating with commercial companies and/or government agencies within the human and pet food sectors to establish solutions to common food safety issues.

Established in 2022 by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), The UK Food Safety Network strives to tackle challenges associated with food safety and prevent food poisoning throughout the United Kingdom. The network brings together various food industries, policymakers, researchers and academics to pursue research and create innovations to protect the country from foodborne illnesses.

The raw pet food project involves using bacteriophages to help decrease Salmonella contamination in raw pet food products. According to the Quadram Institute, raw pet foods are growing in popularity throughout the United Kingdom as pet parents seek non-processed diets to improve their pets’ health. However, raw pet foods can carry higher risk of contamination compared to their cooked counterparts.

To prevent pathogenic contamination, Rob Kingsely, a professor at Quadram Institute, will partner with a raw pet food manufacturer and use funding from the UK Food Safety Research Network to establish a method of reducing Salmonella risks associated with raw formulas.

Kingsley will utilize a mixture of bacteriophages, natural killers of bacteria, in the processing of raw pet food diets to safely reduce the occurrence of Salmonella. According to Quadram Institute, if the bacteriophage method shows promise in pet food, the findings could also be applied to other food products.

“We’re delighted to be able to support these highly innovative projects and get them off the ground,” said Matt Gilmour, group leader and network director at Quadram Institute. “As well as ensuring consumers have the safest possible food choices, these projects also support sustainable economic growth and we look forward to seeing the technology they develop being deployed in the next few years.”

Read more about pet food safety on our Operations page.