Silliker seals Australian deal to boost food testing

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Silliker site at Eagle Farm, Brisbane
Silliker site at Eagle Farm, Brisbane

Related tags: Milk

Silliker Australia has acquired DMG MicroLabs to enable it to tap into the ‘growing opportunity’ in the food testing market.

The Australian subsidiary of Mérieux Nutrisciences said it reinforces the position in food safety and quality services with a new laboratory in a region where it only had a commercial presence before.

Silliker will move the existing DMG MicroLabs lab to a new site at Eagle Farm, Brisbane as of December allowing it to deliver fresh milk testing services thanks to a specialised laboratory, complementary to the lab in Blackburn, Victoria.

The lab will commence operations in February 2015. It will test predominantly for bacteria, fats, proteins, sugars and other nutrient profiles.   

Local testing for raw milk

Daryl Bird, managing director of Silliker Australia, told it has secured 15% market share of the raw milk testing market since entering the market 18 months ago.

“The testing is to meet key customer requirements who require a local testing presence in a large raw milk supply market for the primary reason of checking the quality from their dairy farmer suppliers,” ​he said

“Additionally there are other key clients who have expressed an interest in us extending our raw milk testing capacity into new geographies. 

“Currently, and before Silliker entered the raw milk testing market about 18 months ago, the testing was dominated by one laboratory competitor and this company located in Melbourne maintained an absolute monopoly over this critical testing market.

“Australia has up to six key and major local and global dairy companies who mainly have their milk tested in Melbourne. Developing proximity of testing close to client production will provide Silliker a point of difference for competing in this market against an experienced and dominating competitor.”  

Lab capability

The lab will have extensive PCR testing capability, VIDAS, NIR based raw milk testing, microbiological food and water based testing methods on an extensive array of food matrices. 

Scientific Services to Brisbane will be extended which undertakes rare testing, project work, method development, sterility and stability trials, shelf life and validation work for clients. 

This includes consulting and diagnostic services for clients, usually performed at point of manufacture or source. 

Limited chemistry will be done with most sent to the Chemistry Centre of Excellence in Sydney.

Queensland growth

Bird said primary food testing focus until this point has been on traditional food processing and manufacture.

“With the rise and rise of China and other APAC countries, the appetite for fresh and safe food is ferocious and the Queensland growth is in part being fuelled by this now and in future supply anticipation. 

“Silliker will tap into this growing opportunity and will in due course extend its reach of coverage up the Queensland coast to far reaching food growing areas such as Townsville, Cairns and hinterlands.

“Geographical size means that logistics are made more difficult unless labs are located in proximity and extended logistics, say sending test samples to other states, can negatively impact Testing Turn Around Times (TATs) and test quality as well as cost.”

DMG MicroLabs is a NATA (National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia) accredited microbiological service provider, offering testing in food, water and in-door air quality as well as chemical testing, consulting and training services.

The independent food testing lab in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia was founded in 2003, by Mark Dawson and Bill Greene.

Prior to the acquisition, Silliker Australia operated labs in three states including Sydney, New South Wales, Melbourne, Victoria and Perth, Western Australia.

DMG’s Bill Greene and Mark Dawson said in a market that is consolidating, it became key to be part of a large international group.

“The significant investments already made to move operations to a brand new facility and to expand scope of services, demonstrates the value of an integration into Silliker Australia.”

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