Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., the world leader in serving science, announced it has launched a program focused on assisting government and commercial food testing laboratories in the development and implementation of methods for the analysis of melamine in food products imported from China. This new program comes in response to the recent alert issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The U.S. FDA Import Alert #99-30 sets forth guidelines requiring the "Detention without physical examination of all milk products, milk derived ingredients and finished food products containing milk from China due to the presence of melamine and/or melamine analogs." This alert is expected to put new pressures on food producers and retailers and increase demand for timely testing by commercial laboratories. The alert includes specific guidelines for product testing as well as requirements that need to be met before a detained product can be released.
"Thermo Fisher Scientific is able to provide a complete testing solution - including sample preparation, instrumentation, consumables and methods support - necessary to enable a laboratory to perform the sample analysis according to FDA alert requirements," said Marc N. Casper, chief operating officer of Thermo Fisher Scientific. "We're leveraging the knowledge of our food safety experts and our extensive portfolio of technologies and services to develop new testing methods that increase sample throughput and ensure that melamine testing is both rapid and thorough."
Melamine, an inexpensive industrial chemical used primarily in the manufacture of plastics, and cyanuric acid, a byproduct of melamine, have been linked to food contamination primarily in milk-based products and food additives. Melamine is added to increase the perceived protein content of milk products. Humans and animals cannot metabolize melamine and cyanuric acid, which can eventually crystallize in the kidneys, resulting in a variety of illnesses; melamine contamination has also been linked to several deaths in China. While the current FDA alert is focused on milk and milk-based products, melamine has also been found in pet foods, eggs and produce.
"We anticipate a significant increase in demand for testing following the FDA alert on milk-based products imported from China," said Dr. Stuart Cram, who is leading the Food Safety Program within Thermo Fisher Scientific. "To help our customers handle this expected increase in volume, we're consulting with testing labs and offering methods and technology support. We will also develop melamine analysis courses that we'll offer at our training centers worldwide and at customer sites. These actions should help our customers improve their sample throughput, which is paramount given the expected volume of product affected by the alert."
Thermo Fisher Scientific has developed a testing method based on a Thermo Scientific liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (TSQ Quantum LC-MS/MS) system. This method is currently being used as a reference by the labs under the Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) in China to develop an LC-MS/MS method for the detection of melamine in milk and infant formula.
In addition to the LC-MS/MS solution, Thermo Fisher Scientific can provide screening and confirmation techniques based on its Thermo Scientific gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) technologies. The company's ITQT Series quadrupole ion trap GC/MSn, or its TSQ Quantum triple quadrupole GC/MS with highly selective reaction monitoring (H-SRM), can perform quick and accurate analysis of melamine in complex samples such as milk and baby formula. Thermo Fisher's comprehensive offerings also include a range of sample collection, sample preparation and data management products. Completing the workflow solution is a broad portfolio of chemicals, consumables and equipment, along with e-commerce and supply chain services available through the company's Fisher Scientific brand.
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About Thermo Fisher Scientific
Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (NYSE: TMO) is the world leader in serving science, enabling our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer. With annual revenues of $10 billion, we have more than 30,000 employees and serve over 350,000 customers within pharmaceutical and biotech companies, hospitals and clinical diagnostic labs, universities, research institutions and government agencies, as well as environmental and industrial process control settings. Serving customers through two premier brands, Thermo Scientific and Fisher Scientific, we help solve analytical challenges from routine testing to complex research and discovery. Thermo Scientific offers customers a complete range of high-end analytical instruments as well as laboratory equipment, software, services, consumables and reagents to enable integrated laboratory workflow solutions. Fisher Scientific provides a complete portfolio of laboratory equipment, chemicals, supplies and services used in healthcare, scientific research, safety and education. Together, we offer the most convenient purchasing options to customers and continuously advance our technologies to accelerate the pace of scientific discovery, enhance value for customers and fuel growth for shareholders and employees alike.
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