The 18,000 square meter facility in Amarillo, Texas replaces a smaller one in Dimmit, Texas.
Turn-around time (TAT) for milk components and quality testing at the Amarillo Lab is the same day.
Instruments include a Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) system, a somatic cell counter, a dairy bacteria testing device, food micro pathogen kits and fat and protein analysis units for chemistry testing.
Location, location, location
Jim Miller, president of North America, said the lab officially opened in July last year and has been running at full-speed since the beginning.
“We decided in mid-2015 [to move to the Amarillo lab], due in part to the number of requests we were getting from our local customers, to relocate to a larger metropolitan area,” he told FoodQualityNews.
“One reason is that we rely on local courier services to ship customer samples on the same day. This move would allow our customers to ship their dairy samples and get results back the same day. The choices we looked at were to do a large scale remodel [of the Dimmit lab] or relocate and we chose to relocate.”
The lab employs 47 people including in-house couriers, microbiological and chemistry technicians and sample receiving technicians who log and track samples.
Couriers pick up samples on seven routes daily due to the need for raw milk samples to be fresh.
Some referrals come from Foss, which the firm has had a partnership with since June last year.
“The number of employees depends on the number of tests we are receiving and the demand of the local industries. As we expand our capabilities in and around the Amarillo area we will increase in number, but this may fluctuate based on seasonal demand,” said Miller.
“Raw milk testing is the majority of what we are testing at Amarillo, as we are serving Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Kansas, which are all home to large dairy plants and producers. A few of these tests include: bacteria, pathogen, fat and protein testing.
“We are also testing meat, pet food and pet food ingredients at Amarillo, now that we have the space in the lab for more equipment. As we look into the coming year, we are researching other matrices that the lab can enter. As a direct result of an industry need, one test we have recently implemented is for antibiotics in the dairy industry.”
The chemistry lab in Amarillo is testing meat, pet food and pet food ingredients and the microbiology lab is testing most food, pet food and food ingredients.
“FSMA has begun to impact our business as it directly affects our clients and we are implementing new, customized test programs based on those needs,” said Miller.
“For example, testing the purity of high risk commodities, such as olive oil, is one area that we have focused our testing efforts around to accommodate our customers who want to address the final rule for FSMA Intentional Adulteration.”
Mérieux NutriSciences is also moving a food testing facility near to the University of Florida campus.
The site will move from southwest Gainesville to a 22,700 square foot location one mile east of downtown Gainesville. The groundbreaking ceremony will be in early March.
The company is retaining 70 jobs in the Greater Gainesville Region and plans to add 30 over the next two years.