High-throughput laboratory opens in Hamburg
July 4, 2007
Some 100 guests from the worlds of trade and industry, consumer protection, politics, science and the media met on Friday 29 June 2007 to celebrate the opening of the high-throughput laboratory which BFL Bio Fruit Laboratories GmbH has set up for the purpose of analysing fresh foods. This independent laboratory resides in the logistics centre operated by HQL Hodorff Qualitätslogistik GmbH. A combination of factors means that food can be subjected to a comprehensive analysis in an extremely short time – the laboratory’s special field is testing for pesticides, it is fitted with state of the art equipment, has a large capacity for producing analyses, is located within the logistics chain and operates around the clock, 365 days a year. Manfred Giesecke, BFL’s general manager explained the benefits of their release for sale procedure: “The test results are available within 12 hours, i.e. before the goods go on sale. With regards to pesticides, the consumer can be sure that the produce he buys is fit to eat. And the capacity is so large that every delivery of fruit or vegetables can be inspected. So random checks are a thing of the past. Safety can finally be an integral part of the overall service.” Existing procedures such as residue monitoring are based on historic data that is neither up to date nor statistically representative. Torsten Berens, deputy managing director at Hamburg Wholesale Market, emphasized how important the concept is in terms of consumer protection and food safety. “At the same time, this innovation is a valuable, invigorating addition to the mix of companies at the Wholesale Market,” Berens said, relaying greetings and congratulations from the Ministry of Economics and Labour Affairs. Prof. Dr. Georg Schwedt, expert for food chemistry at Bonn University, was full of praise for the speed of the analyses and the very sophisticated instruments employed. He also took a look at the future. “Work will now start on reaching the next milestones, such as developing new, even quicker test procedures and improving or accelerating the complicated process of preparing the samples.” One new project is due to get under way in October 2007: a laboratory for schoolchildren, modelled on the “SuperLab” at Clausthal and the “ExperimentierKüche” in Bonn’s Deutsches Museum. The aim is to explain through simple experiments the children can do themselves, what is contained in foods and what significance the various ingredients have. This provides some important basic knowledge about nutrition. So the consumer can recognize produce that has been through the rapid, comprehensive test procedure, a new sign has been created, the “Laboratory tested food quality” seal. “With this seal the trader can show his customers that he is very insistent on the best standards for food safety and consumer protection,” says Heinrich Hodorff, HQL managing director, explaining this move into advertising aimed at consumers. To coincide with the laboratory opening, the seal was presented to the general public. On 29 and 30 June more than 40 specials were held in North Germany, when health advisors talked to customers in supermarkets and at street markets. Consumers thus had an opportunity to learn more about the safety and quality of fruit and vegetables and about the effects of pesticides. “More educational work in the specialist stores is urgently needed,” said Heinrich Hodorff, “but our specials showed that consumers do take an interest in food quality issues.” Their interest in the seal and the pesticide issue shows us that we are on the right track with our steps to guarantee the consumer that “quality meets safety” were his food is concerned. The retailers who participated were very enthusiastic about the idea. For more information please contact: Frank Willhausen, tel. +49 40-325287-30, Fax -31, mobile 0170-5577514, E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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