Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (NYSE: TMO), the world leader in serving science, today opened a global food testing laboratory devoted solely to helping contain costly and life-threatening chemical contamination crises. The Food Safety Response Center, located in Dreieich, Germany, is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and staffed by world-class chemists who will quickly mobilize to aid governments and businesses facing an unknown food safety threat involving chemical contaminants. One recent threat, the melamine crisis in China, claimed the lives of at least six children, sickened nearly 300,000 and cost companies worldwide billions before it was contained.
“Identification and containment of food toxicity require a rapid response, otherwise the threat to human health and global commerce is magnified with each passing day”
"Identification and containment of food toxicity require a rapid response, otherwise the threat to human health and global commerce is magnified with each passing day," said Marc N. Casper, president and chief executive officer of Thermo Fisher Scientific. "Chemical contamination in food is a growing and costly threat, including risks from environmental contamination and naturally occurring toxins. Our Food Safety Response Center will be a valuable resource whenever food companies, governments and the people they serve are at risk. It's an excellent example of how we enable our customers to make the world safer."
According to the World Health Organization, chemical contamination in food is a worldwide public health concern and is a leading cause of trade problems internationally. It is often difficult to link a food-borne illness to a particular product, especially since toxins may accumulate over time. Common sources of chemical contamination include pesticides, veterinary drugs, banned food dyes, industrial chemicals (e.g., acrylamide and benzene), heavy metals (e.g., arsenic, cadmium and lead), organic pollutants (e.g., dioxins and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) and naturally occurring toxins such as mycotoxins, which can affect peanuts, corn, pistachios and walnuts.
When a chemical contamination event occurs, the Food Safety Response Center team will mobilize and set into motion a process for developing the methods, providing the workflow instructions and recommending the instrumentation, equipment and supplies necessary to give food safety professionals around the world the capability to rapidly detect the contaminant. The Center is strategically located in close proximity to Europe's leading food safety research institutions and houses state-of-the-art Thermo Scientific analytical instruments to enable rapid method development for chemical contamination in food. Regulators, contract testing labs and end users will be able to take the method developed by the Center and analyze the food matrix for the specific chemical contaminant.