Silliker’s new flagship food safety testing facility has opened its door in Illinois, as the company maintains its commitment to meet the food industry’s testing demands.
Speaking with FoodNavigator-USA, Johannes Burlin, President of Silliker North America, explained that awareness of food safety issues has increased for industry because of regulations like the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA).
Safety is also increasingly in the public domain as more and more issues bubble over, he said, with the most recent example being concerns over arsenic in rice.
According to figures from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 48m people become ill as a result of foodborne illness each year, about 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die.
Consumers and the industry/regulators view food safety differently, said Burlin. For consumers, food safety is associated with a particular food or product. It is driven by recalls, he explained. For the industry, food safety is a matter of process, a matter of quality systems.
To meet the industry’s testing demands, Silliker celebrated the grand opening of its flagship laboratory for North America last week. The 71,000 square-foot facility in Crete, IL, will be home to about 200 employees eventually.
Construction on the $14 million dollar facility was completed in August 2012 and utilized advanced workflow design to maximize efficiency and to minimize any potential for contamination.
Burlin added that the company follows a central lab model built around centers of excellence. “We believe [the new Solutions Center] it’s the largest lab in the US dedicated to food safety,” he added.
The food industry is globalizing rapidly and the company’s business model is to provide ‘one Silliker’, he said. All of its services follow the same SoPs, the same quality systems, and this allows them to provide more services for our international customers.
“An important aspect for us is that we have a very good understanding of food, and we understand the matrix.”
According to the company, the Silliker Solution Center includes:
• Expanded analytical chemistry capabilities
• Advanced Nutritional Chemistry testing for composition and nutritional labeling
• Increased profile of chemistry testing methods for current and emerging chemical contaminants
• State-of-the-art microbiology testing and serology expertise
• Enhanced capabilities for contract research programs including shelf life and challenge studies
Philippe Sans, president and CEO, Mérieux NutriSciences said the new center is consistent with the company’s global strategic plan to provide the highest level of service from operations based on the latest technologies and instrumentation, combined with a dedicated team focused on operational excellence.