Neogen signs multi-million food safety deal with China

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food safety, Scotland

Neogen Corporation has announced it has signed a multi-million pound partnership agreement with the Chinese Government to research food safety issues specific to the country.

The initiative between the US company’s European subsidiary in Scotland and China has created a jointly funded laboratory in Beijing. Testing methods and data developed in the facility will be used in more than 30 labs throughout the country.

Neogen, which specializes in the development and marketing of food safety kits, will also be working with the Chinese on plant health issues.

Ongoing food safety project

Dr Steve Chambers, Sales & Marketing Director Neogen Europe Ltd, told that the partnership would look at developing and modifying screening test kits for quality and safety of agricultural commodities. This would initially focus on diseases of vegetable crops both for domestic consumption and for export.

“This is part of an ongoing wider programme working with us on the development and validation programmes for a range of food quality and safety issues, for example mycotoxins,”​ he added.

Neogen said it expected the agreement to generate revenue of £10m for the company over the next 3-5 years.

Neogen CEO James Herbert said: "This agreement represents a great opportunity for Neogen to be at the forefront in helping develop food safety and plant health solutions specifically for the Chinese. This opportunity is a logical expansion of Neogen Europe's proven ability to tailor solutions to the varying regulatory and quality assurance environments in the large number of countries it serves."

The announcement of the partnership comes just days after China’s new food safety law came into effect. The legislation aims to toughen up the country’s food monitoring network by imposing more stringent standards, stricter supervision and a recall system for tainted or substandard products.

Top level negotiations

Final agreement on the deal was reached following a recent high-level meeting between Chinese Minister of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, Wang Yong, Scotland's First Minister, the UK Ambassador to China and Neogen representatives.

"This is fantastic news for Neogen Europe, Scottish jobs and businesses and for our international reputation,"​ said Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond.

"The pace of progress following our meeting with Mr. Yang in China last month is a remarkable testament to the impressive work of Neogen Europe, the potential for Scottish businesses in China and the lasting cooperation built."

Related topics: Food safety

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