Eurofins opens microbiology and chemistry labs in Canada

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Picture: iStock. Eurofins said the meat industry has a high demand for testing
Picture: iStock. Eurofins said the meat industry has a high demand for testing

Related tags: Laboratory, Chemistry, Eurofins

Eurofins has officially opened a food testing laboratory in Canada.

The two laboratory complex, offering chemical and microbiological analyses, achieved ISO 17025 accreditation from the Standards Council of Canada earlier this year. 

It is in Toronto, Ontario and the firm also has an accredited food lab in Quebec.

There are 100 staff including analysts, lab supervisors, quality assurance specialists and administrative support.

Eurofins Experchem opens first Eurofins food testing lab

Beginning as a pharmaceutical and personal care product testing lab, Experchem was purchased by Eurofins in 2015 as the group's first Canadian lab.

Eurofins expanded services to include food, environmental and medicinal cannabis testing.

The initial service offering was created to minimize contamination risks within process, ingredients, and products for any food-related industry, said Matthew Jennison, Eurofins Experchem business development manager.

“The food chemistry and microbiology lab opened in summer this year. It is not yet running at full capacity. We build large spaces for microbiology and chemistry with the idea that we have lots of room for growth, we didn’t want to open and have to move two years later,” ​he told FoodQualityNews.

“Before Eurofins opened our operations here, there were a number of local labs that all were able to do a piece of our customers work without any one lab being able to offer a one stop shop solution.

“So they would do some of their testing with one site, some of their testing with a different company and they would ship some testing to wherever it needed to go. Since Eurofins has opened we are able to have a sample arrive at our site and whatever it needs we can take it from there.”

Jennison added the laboratory information management system (LIMS) is integrated across Canada and the US.

Microbiology and chemistry lab

The 32,000 square foot space includes the option for more space in the building as test volumes require. The microbiology part is slightly larger than the chemistry lab.

Quote from Eurofins US food president

Sean Murray said the lab offers clients in North America local service and global expertise in pathogen detection, quantitative microbiology and food chemistry.

"Eurofins is excited to open these food microbiology and chemistry laboratories as we envision our lab to serve both local food manufacturers in Ontario and global companies with operations in Canada. Moreover, it serves as a drop-off point to our global centers of excellence which have leading scientific authorities in nutritional and genetic analysis, contaminants, authenticity and allergens testing, amongst other things."

The Toronto labs will bring 'farm-to-fork' product testing capabilities, as well as food safety training, certification and auditing services to the Canadian market.

Microbiology services include environmental monitoring, spoilage organism and pathogen testing of finished products.

The chemistry lab can evaluate nutritional parameters and quantify contaminants like allergens and pesticide residues.

Depending on what testing is needed results can take a day and a half to 10-15 days.

It has two rapid platforms for microbiology testing: Hygiena's BAX and bioMérieux's Vidas with plans to add more as the market requires.

On the chemistry side, it has HPLC, LC-MS/MS, ICP and GC-MS as well as protein and mercury analysers.

A North American partnership

Jennison said it has a number of large multinational customers who now see it as a North American partnership instead of just a US partnership.

“We have a robust food industry in Canada with the large geographical space and the large number of different crops that we grow, the large number of livestock that we raise and all of the further processing that goes onto that and we ship a lot of food exports to the US and around the world,” ​he said.

“So Eurofins interest in Canada is it is a huge market opportunity for us. Eurofins has an aggressive growth strategy and our plan is to win the Canadian market and everything we need to do to get to that point is part of the plan.

“The meat industry has a very high demand for testing, if you were looking at a per-company basis at who spends the most on food testing it is definitely the meat industry. It has a high potential for contamination and what we find is meat companies in Canada are doing a great job of managing their risks and part of that is doing the appropriate testing."

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