Following the Safe Food Alliance launch of its largest laboratory to date in Kingsburg last January, it’s time to check its progress. Located off Highway 99 at the Kingsburg Business Park on the Northwest corner of W. Bratton Street and Morgan Drive, the building’s steel framework is completed and the roof is installed. Although there were initially some delays this winter, the building is expected to be delivered in mid-December with full transfer of laboratory operations implemented by late spring, 2018.
Because now more than ever, food manufacturers are under pressure from consumers and regulators to ensure the quality and safety of their products, the new state of the art lab will provide about 20,408 square feet of space for lab services. The Safe Food Alliance training team will conduct classes in onsite meeting facilities like GFSI Food Safety Standards including BRC & SQF; HACCP, FSMA Produce and Preventive Controls regulations.
Resident scientists will test the microbiological and chemical properties of food and water to assure buyers that products meet their specifications and are safe for consumers. Research activities will also be conducted at the lab to uncover better methods of analyzing foods for pesticide residues, protecting them from pest damage and insuring that they are safe from microbial hazards. Additionally, commodity inspectors from DFA of California will be grading and inspecting tree nut and dried fruit commodities.
The new facility is triple the size of the existing Fresno facility and immediately brings 30 full time jobs to Kingsburg.
Conveniently located in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley, the fully accredited lab offers services like fumigation research and pesticide testing unique to the area. The new facility is triple the size of the existing Fresno facility and immediately brings 30 full time jobs to Kingsburg. Within five years, this laboratory could employ up to 100 full and part-time technicians and contribute significantly to the areas revenue base with additional space available for expansion later. Intern and job opportunities will also be available to local college students.
As more foods grown and processed in the San Joaquin Valley are consumed worldwide, global trade arrangements are increasingly complex and diverse requiring food manufacturers to comply with an increasing number of regulatory limits and standards imposed by importing nations. According to Safe Food Alliance Lab Director, Tom Jones, “We can assist with the necessary water testing for produce safety rule compliance, setting up an environmental monitoring program, shelf life studies and any product testing needed to establish compliance and verify practices.”
“Understanding the significance of positive environmental sample findings is critical to preventing product contamination”
Given Dole’s recently revealed price tag of $36 million for recalls and a division shutdown, Jones was asked how such a disaster could be prevented: “Understanding the significance of positive environmental sample findings is critical to preventing product contamination,” he replied. “When there are repeated hits for Listeria, a thorough and complete investigation must be carried out to determine the source of the contamination. Our staff can assist in such activities with both lab testing and consulting.”
Safe Food Alliance is one part of a global food management system that helps the food sector to drive continuous improvements across the supply chain. This includes unannounced audits of facilities to measure compliance with regulations.