Food manufacturing giant 2 Sisters Food Group, United Kingdom, opened a food safety laboratory where almost 1 million ready-to-eat, ready-to-cook food samples such as ready meals and pizza, will be tested each year.
The laboratory—based at Nottingham’s BioCity Laurus site—created 20 new jobs, bolstering the workforce to 60 at the Pennyfoot Street site. Catherine Brown, chief executive officer of the Food Standards Agency (FSA), was tapped to help open the new food safety lab. Up to 16,000 samples a week are tested at the facility, with samples coming from 2 Sisters Food manufacturing sites all over the UK.
The samples are first logged into an automated laboratory information management system. From there, a number of tests are carried out by the team of microbiologists. Some samples will be placed in automated machinery for scanning of relevant bacteria, while others will be placed in agar to see what grows. The results are placed back on the system to be read remotely by the originating factory.
“This facility underlines our total commitment to producing world-class food products and ensuring that what we produce not only tastes great, but is safe to eat,” says Ranjit Singh, chief executive officer. “We have invested a substantial sum in this lab, and as our business grows, there will be an increasing need to ensure quality and safety go hand-in-hand. It’s what the British consumer demands, and what we demand as a world-class manufacturer.”
“It’s a great pleasure to open this new laboratory,” Brown says. “Food safety is of paramount importance to any food business, and I am very impressed by the energy and commitment 2 Sisters Food Group has shown by developing and building this state-of-the-art facility.”
“Food standards in the UK and Europe are extremely high,” adds Neil Khandke, group technical director. “Our facilities are regularly inspected and reviewed by our customers and by our own teams here at BioCity and also by the authorities. Our sites operate to very high standards, and the testing we do in BioCity is the final verification that all the things in place in our factories are actually working as they should be. The products tested here will be tested to verify that there are no problems with them. Obviously, it allows us if we see things, to take action should we need to and remove those products.”
The new lab doubles the size of the previous lab, and will be run by food microbiologist, Fiona Brookes, who came from Northern Foods, a British food manufacturer headquartered in Leeds, England.