The 5,300-square foot Food Safety Studio in Bellevue, Washington is for food manufacturers to collaborate with MilliporeSigma scientists.
The life science business of Merck KGaA in Darmstadt, Germany, which operates as MilliporeSigma in the US and Canada, has 19,000 employees and 65 manufacturing sites worldwide.
Building on acquisition
Jean-Charles Wirth, head of applied solutions, life science at Merck, said it would bring about collaboration from the training, demonstrations and discussions about food safety testing.
“This may result in faster, more effective solutions for the detection of foodborne pathogens and hygiene monitoring. This also supports the adoption of new detection technologies in the food safety testing industry,” he said.
“Merck acquired BioControl Systems in January and chose Bellevue, Washington for the site of the Food Safety Studio because BioControl was headquartered there.”
Any manufacturers or processors interested in food safety testing can collaborate with Merck’s scientists at the center.
Customer visits are being scheduled at the site which features a Food Safety Demonstration Center designed with a classroom setting and demonstration lab to extend product and process development to customers.
Equipment includes the ReadyBag media, ESH (stomacher), Dilucult (homogenizer), the BioControl GDS system for molecular detection which features the PickPen PIPETMAX, lateral flow methods including VIP Gold and SinglePath/DuoPath, environmental monitoring: the MAS-100 air monitoring devlice, MVP ICON ATP system and FLASH protein detection system.
It employs 80 people in R&D, customer and tech services, marketing and other roles.
MilliporeSigma would not disclose the financial investment but said it is part of a program that ‘encompasses multiple measures’.
Supply chain coverage
The center covers from raw materials testing to finished-product safety testing, to help find, correct and prevent hazards within the supply chain.
It allows customers to work with manual or automated food safety products such as testing kits and hygiene swabs that help maintain safety throughout the manufacturing process.
Wirth said Merck develops products for food manufacturers and processors in foodborne pathogens and hygiene monitoring.
“This includes molecular testing methods such as polymerase chain reaction, immunological testing methods, lateral diffusion and immunodiffusion testing and hygiene parameters such as pH and temperature.
“Full training on all Merck food safety testing products is provided either at the customer’s site or at the Food Safety Studio.”
It is unclear if it will be the first of other such centers but Wirth said establishing new ways to better collaborate with customers is a top priority.
“We continue to look at all opportunities to expand our efforts in this area. We believe collaborating with customers is the best way to solve tough problems in areas like food safety.”