Council blames ‘changing landscape’ for lab closure

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

Picture: iStock
Picture: iStock

Related tags Chemistry

A laboratory in operation for almost 90 years in Staffordshire is to close following a council review.

Staffordshire County Council opted to close Staffordshire Scientific Services and Public Analyst Laboratory in the UK following a review that started in early 2016 and ended in July 2017.

The council said due to changes in the industry, demand has declined and was predicted to continue to fall.

Formal closure in February

The lab will cease accepting samples for analysis from 22 December and formally close on 28 February 2018. It employed 16 people.

“It is with heavy hearts that we have to announce that after 88 years we will be closing our doors in February 2018. We will not be accepting any more samples after 22 December,” ​said the lab in a statement posted on Twitter.

“We would like to thank all of our loyal customers and followers for the support over the years and we wish you all the best for the future.”

The authority’s public protection work will continue with services commissioned from other providers.

Staffordshire Scientific Services offered testing, advice and customer support to clients in the public sector and private business.

In operation since 1929, the lab protected the public from deliberate or accidental introduction of harmful foods, drink and animal feed into the market.

Services included nutritional and chemical analysis of foods; detection of contaminants in food; analysis of animal feed and fertilisers and air, water and environmental pollution analysis.

Changing landscape

Gill Heath, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Communities, said: “The landscape has changed in recent years and there’s a far greater culture of authorities and bodies sharing results from testing and creating less duplication.

“Put simply, despite the high standards of the Staffordshire service demand has fallen and is predicted to continue falling.

“We will continue to protect the public by providing the same services necessary for its welfare, but by commissioning those services rather than providing them in-house, we can deliver the same high standard without incurring the costs of operating a laboratory.”

Related topics Business Food Safety & Quality

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