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Breeding in the laboratory

Introduction

WARNING : In the United States, Ricarimpex leeches may only be used as an adjunct to the healing of graft tissue when problems of venous congestion may delay healing, or to overcome problems of venous congestion by creating prolonged localized bleeding. Leeches have not been cleared by the FDA for any of the applications in general medicine described on this website or in any other source of information on medicinal leeches, scientific or otherwise.

Breeding in the lavoratory

Over the last few years, RICARIMPEX has been developing and optimising laboratory breeding methods to enable production to take place entirely within the laboratory setting. Leeches are fed exclusively with poultry blood from a certified company. Once the correct size has been attained, the leeches are fasted for a minimum period of 3 months. The leeches are then transferred to a storage unit and are ready for shipping.
Also in recent years, the company has been optimising its reproduction techniques to obtain cocoons throughout the year and move away from the periodicity of the leech’s biological cycle as far as possible.

All breeding stages are subject to the strictest traceability requirements so that the history of a leech can be traced from birth right through to sale. For this purpose, a series of written procedures and a quality manual are available for consultation at head office. Every year, RICARIMPEX is visited by an independent AFAQ/AFNOR certification body. The aim of this audit is to verify the management of documents and the application of traceability procedures and to assess the company in terms of the ongoing improvement of its quality programme, thereby ensuring the sale of a quality product and customer satisfaction. The company was first awarded ISO 9001 certification in 2002 and this has been renewed every year since. The certification covers the entire “live leech breeding and sales” activity.
Within this context, the company regularly evaluates all its suppliers who have an impact on the product sold. Hence only those suppliers who meet the company’s strict criteria are retained. For example, for the supply of blood, the company chose a poultry slaughterhouse which provides products for human consumption. The slaughterhouse has ISO certification from an accredited body and undergoes regular checks by the veterinary and health services.