Food safety company PrimusLabs its 25th anniversary serving the fresh produce industry. The newest of its seven locations opened last year in Belle Glade and features an expanded microbiological laboratory with all-new staff members who are willing and ready to provide the best customer service.
“We moved from our Lakeland location because we needed a larger facility to serve our clients up and down the whole East Coast,” said Kiley Harper-Larsen, business development representative for the southern region. “We were happy to find this location because it offers twice the space we had in Lakeland, plus it’s close to our employees’ homes,” she said. “That’s important because the nature of our business makes it essential to have staff here on short notice.”
PrimusLabs offers a variety of services to help customers reach their food safety goals, exceed customer expectations and meet regulatory requirements.
Its professional staff uses or provides:
- Approved methodologies for microbiological and pesticide residue analyses
- Globally recognized audits including PrimusGFS, GlobalGAP, and BRC
- Nationally recognized audits including PrimusLabs GAP and GMP, National Organic Program and other audit programs
- Public and private informational and training programs
It also provides assistance with and coordination of customer data management and flow with Azzule Systems, the company that manages auditing and testing data for PrimusLabs.
Thorough testing of samples
Using PrimusLabs’ sampling guidelines, producers in need of pesticide residue screening or microbiological testing may ship samples or drop them off them off at the lab. Or customers may request a PrimusLabs representative pick up a sample at their location or perform the sampling for the customer at a desired location. Testing of the samples is completed according to clients’ instructions, and results are provided promptly.
“Our customers expect attention to detail. We communicate with the client throughout the process to ensure they are fully aware, informed and involved in the decision making of how their product is tested” Harper-Larsen said.
“When our clients test with us and they get a presumptive positive, we notify them at that point. Culturing is done using either the FDA-approved method for food products or USDA-approved method for environmental samples,” said University of Florida alumnus microbiologist Matthew Woodrum.
Because samples must be sent to the lab as quickly as possible, Harper-Larsen is working with companies and organizations to develop lower-cost ways of transporting them. “We are interested in hearing from organizations who would want to help coordinate a plan so that their members or operations can save on shipping,” she said. “Customer collaboration saves time and money for everyone involved.” Customers may contact her (561) 846-2322 or the Florida Lab at (561) 996-5507 for more information.
Audits designed to meet buyer and retailer requirements and to fit grower specifications
PrimusLabs offers a variety of audits to suit the needs of clients and their buyers’ requirements. “We are one of the few audit certification bodies that can perform globally and nationally recognized audits,” said Harper-Larsen.
PrimusGFS and related audits are Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) benchmarked and fully recognized audit schemes covering both GAP and GMP scopes as well as food safety management systems and HACCP plans.
PrimusLabs’ nationally recognized and accepted audits include its GMP and GAP audits. The PrimusLabs GMP audit covers many topics including pest control, traceability, sanitation, food defense, maintenance, foreign material control and HACCP. Programs are tailored for different types of facilities including cooling, packing and processing and storage operations.
The PrimusLabs GAP audit covers food safety topics of site selection, adjacent land use, fertilizer usage, water sourcing and usage, pest control and pesticide monitoring, harvesting practices (including worker hygiene, packaging storage, field sanitation and product transportation) and food defense.
PrimusLabs’ NOP-USDA certification, which is obligatory for all organic products sold and imported into theUnited States, includes the general requirements for the production, processing and marketing of these products.
Information and training to suit clients’ needs
After being in business 25 years, PrimusLabs understands that producers need access to food safety information at all times and training conducted near their operations. Two sections of PrimusLabs’ website are dedicated to helping clients obtain information and training.
“Primuslabs offers free access to policy and form templates for farm and facilities 24/7,” said Harper-Larsen. “These templates can be used as starting outlines for growers to develop their own food safety manuals for both farm and facility that meet their specific needs.” Clients are encouraged to visit the toolkit section of the PrimusLabs website to begin using these templates for free.
Training information has been formalized into the PrimusLabs University section of the site.
“PrimusLabs University offers numerous public and private courses for customers when and where they need them,” Harper-Larsen said. Popular course offerings include International HACCP Alliance Accredited Basic and Advanced HACCP courses, a three-day PrimusGFS Audit Standards seminar for customers and consultants, and a four-day PrimusGFS Auditor Training seminar. “Private courses can be coordinated through any sales representative and do provide a cost savings to the client over publicly held courses,” Harper-Larsen added.
“Private courses provide clients more one-on-one instruction time. They are held at the client’s location of choice with up 15 participants — often saving the client thousands of dollars in travel and allowing the trainer to understand the customer’s growing and packing operation.”