According to Vincent Paez, senior director of food safety and environmental testing at AB SCIEX, “scanning the web” for food safety news, and maintaining close contact with regulatory authorities and the dairy industry is an essential step in the development of new product testing methods.
US-based AB SCIEX produces analytical testing methods to be used with mass spectrometry instruments.
It has developed testing solutions for raw material testing, food processing, finished products, and import and export regulatory testing.
“By staying in touch with the industry, we can learn early about an emerging threat to the food, beverage, and milk supply,” said Paez. “Once we learn what the contaminant is that is causing the problem and what it is in, then we can go to work.”
“We are very close to the regulatory agencies, food companies, contract testing labs, and conferences, so that we can keep our ears to the ground and know when there is a new contamination concern in the industry.”
Regulators “first to react” to emerging threats
"We usually work with the regulatory agencies, as they are first to react to such food safety events,” he said.
AB SCIEX has recently worked alongside the likes of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Director for Health and Consumers (DG SANCO), and the Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), according to Paez.
“We consider ourselves all scouts in the industry, especially those of us, who regularly visit the regulatory agencies."
Through its cooperation with regulators and the dairy industry, AB SCIEX recently unveiled a laboratory-based method to test for dicyandiamide (DCD) – a potentially-harmful agricultural chemical.
The method was developed in response to the detection of DCD in some September 2012-manufactured Fonterra dairy products.
Help dairy industry “save time to solve” problem
Through this close cooperation with regulators and the industry, AB SCIEX is then able to develop "reliable and accurate" testing methods for the new threats.
“Developing an analytical method is quite a challenge and is very time consuming,” said Paez.
“When we deliver to the industry a new method, then they can use it to test for the new emerging contaminant and we have helped the industry save time to solve the contamination problem.”
“Without these testing solutions, the food/ milk product cannot be tested using mass spectrometry, which is the most reliable and accurate testing technology available to food labs," he added.