23 August 2013
Food manufacturing giant 2 Sisters Food Group has officially opened a new £1m food safety laboratory, where almost one million food samples will be tested each year.
The laboratory – based at Nottingham’s BioCity Laurus site – was officially opened today (Monday September 23) by the CEO of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) Catherine Brown. The lab has created 20 new jobs, bolstering the workforce to 60 at the Pennyfoot Street site.
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. A wide variety of products that are ready to eat and ready to cook are tested, ranging from biscuits, ready meals, pizzas to salads.
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, dependent on the nature of the product.
Some samples will be placed in automated machinery for scanning for the relevant bacteria, while others will be placed in agar to see what grows.
Each product made by 2 Sisters has a microbiological specification and scientists at the BioCity labs make sure the samples match up. The specification is determined either by customer taste or even by law.
The results are placed back on the system to be read remotely by the originating factory.
Ranjit Singh, CEO of 2 Sisters Food Group, said: “I’m delighted Catherine Brown has joined us to open this new laboratory. 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.
“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.”
Catherine Brown added: “It’s a great pleasure to open this new laboratory. 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.”
Neil Khandke, Group Technical Director, explained: “Food standards in the UK and Europe are extremely high. 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 labs, double the size of the previous lab, also in Nottingham, have created 20 new jobs and there is room to grow by taking on new microbiologists.
They are led by nationally respected food microbiologist, Fiona Brookes, who the company inherited from Northern Foods.