The Food Safety Lab: A Strategic Partner in Your Company’s Profitability
Companies in the dairy industry face a unique set of challenges that directly revolve around the productivity of manufacturing and supply chains, brand reputation management, and profitability. These concerns have become amplified during the pandemic, as the food supply chain faces a higher demand from consumers. The pressure is on for companies to deliver high-quality, safe dairy products and ensure that shelves are stocked.
Partnering with your food safety laboratory is a strategic action that has the potential to lead to benefits in manufacturing, supply chain, and finance. In fact, investing in ultra-rapid microbiology testing can have significant positive impacts on your entire production and logistics process.
Automating manual processes in the lab can boost productivity and efficiency, while simultaneously improving compliance. Traditional laboratory analysis takes significantly longer than automated methods, introducing waiting periods that can lead to product loss and directly impact a company’s bottom line. Taking full advantage of automated technologies for media and sample prep, quality indicator testing, pathogen detection, microbial identification, and sterility testing can help deliver accurate results faster.
In the mid-2000s, Haagen Dazs, the ice cream and sorbet brand noticed that time lag associated with traditional laboratory analysis methods resulted in significant production spoilage and financial losses for their company. Under the direction of microbiology laboratory manager Sophie Cornu, Haagen Dazs has embraced automation by implementing bioMérieux’s CHEMUNEX® BACTIFLOW® ALS system in 2006, followed by a second system in 2015 to optimize Enterobacteriaceae testing and decision-making.
“Speedy analysis also means better process control and has made it possible to increase production runs from 24 hours to 90 hours. Logistics and sales have also benefited through a more than 50 percent reduction in end-product warehouse stocks. These indirect benefits have considerably improved our operational organization and our financial flows,” states Cornu.
Rather than being viewed as a bottleneck, the Haagen Dazs laboratory has now become an invaluable asset to the company. “One of the benefits has been to consolidate in-house communication between the quality control department and other departments,” says Cornu. “The lab is now seen as a genuine partner in the production process. Quality has become a decision-making tool with a bearing on the production and shipment of our ice creams all over the world.”
In addition to routine product safety and quality control, automated analysis can also support product and process innovation. Consistent, quality sampling and reduction in turnaround times for each type and phase of testing can help streamline the research and development process. Problems can be detected more quickly so that they can be addressed earlier, and confirmation of quality and resolution can be obtained sooner.
Providing laboratories with up-to-date, automated technology has cascading benefits for all parts of the organization, making it worth the upfront cost. In the case of Haagen Dazs, “Reducing Enterobacteriaceae analysis times from 24 hours to 13 hours has cut down production spoilage thanks to faster decision-making,” says Cornu. “The direct savings were equivalent to the cost of the system, making it highly cost-effective.”
Every stage of dairy production requires an uncompromising approach to quality control to provide customers with safe products and avoid contamination. As a provider of automated testing solutions for the dairy industry, bioMérieux offers a rapid, streamlined workflow via its instruments and tests that can improve a company’s bottom line—and most importantly, deliver results that a company can count on.
To bolster a company’s bottom line, bioMérieux makes quality control more efficient than ever—its microbial detection solutions allow streamlined, straightforward, and objective monitoring of every step of the production process. Faster turnaround time in the lab allows for lower inventory costs, earlier interventions, and finally, increased productivity, all leading to greater profitability in a company’s production process. From in-process testing that helps pinpoint and address early deviations to finished-good testing that ensures product quality, bioMérieux works with customers to eliminate bottlenecks, boost productivity, and unlock value.
The CHEMUNEX® BACTIFLOW® ALS system, utilized by Haagen Dasz, is just one of the available objective, robust, and rapid microbiology testing solutions that can significantly reduce quality control quarantine times—meaning that a company can quickly and confidently increase its manufacturing and supply chain productivity. By lowering holding times and reducing inventory and storage costs, products can get to market faster and more efficiently.
Complementing CHEMUNEX® is the BACT/ALERT® 3D, which detects a broad range of microorganisms using a proven, patented liquid-emulsion sensor to detect CO2 and other metabolites. The instrument’s sensitivity enables better productivity, faster product release, and significant cost savings. Engineered for automated, objective, and high-throughput microbial detection, BACT/ALERT is a versatile solution that can be customized to meet nearly any facility’s needs.
Ultimately, every facility must maintain safe, high-quality products, and the laboratory plays a critical role for all dairy companies as the protector of consumer safety and of company reputation. Outfitting laboratories with the tools they need to better partner with your production, logistics, and sales teams can bring an organization’s quality control to the next level.
bioMérieux, Inc. provides rapid and traditional microbiological solutions, helping ensure consumers receive high-quality and safe food products. Visit www.biomerieux-usa.com for details on available dairy solutions.