The Merville-based laboratory started to operate in January.
The 3,000 m² lab is now fully operational to test up to 5,000 samples per week.
It is located close to the microbiology lab in Merville and will eventually employ more than 80 people.
Dairy, meat and grocery products
David Valenti, managing director of Mérieux NutriSciences in France, said the lab has technical capacities and has been smartly designed.
“We do a lot of different analyses in the new lab including product composition, quality testing and water testing. Among the different matrices we test in Merville, we can mention dairy products, meat and grocery products among others,” he told FoodQualityNews.
“Demand is increasing as consumers are more and more willing to know the exact composition of their products and if they include some elements they were not expecting. These needs are addressed thanks to analyses such as residues testing, allergens and GMO.”
Equipment and analytical coverage includes gas and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), ICP-MS and ICP-OES, atomic absorption spectrometry, Soxhlet and Randall extraction, the Dumas and Kjeldhal methods for nitrogen analysis.
It includes an area dedicated to dairy products methods with specific material and staff.
“The dairy market has specific needs: we need to use dedicated methods, this is the reason why we have a dedicated area and specific equipment in the lab to test dairy products,” said Valenti.
“Skilled staff working on dairy products will not perform tests on other matrices to ensure the team competency; and inversely, other technicians will not test dairy products.”
Investment reflects ambition to develop chemistry operations
Mérieux NutriSciences’ network in France includes six labs dedicated to microbiology, one to chemistry and two to sensorial analysis.
It brings the number of labs in Europe to more than 40, strengthening chemistry capabilities in the region.
Philippe Sans, Mérieux NutriSciences’ president and CEO, said investment in the lab reflects ambition to develop chemistry operations in France and worldwide.
“The consumers are expecting more and more transparency about the composition of the products they eat and food players are answering this demand through more chemistry tests.”
Meanwhile, the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) has elected Pam Coleman as 2018 President-Elect.
Coleman is a certified food scientist and VP of research services at Mérieux NutriSciences.