Investments in new equipment designed to provide a more detailed and comprehensive analysis of locally-produced milk will ensure Manitobans can continue to have a high level of confidence in the safety and quality of their dairy products, Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Minister Ron Kostyshyn announced today.
Governments are providing more than $397,000 to Horizon Lab Ltd., an accredited laboratory located in Winnipeg, to purchase and install a high performance liquid chromatography unit. This equipment is used to identify and measure any potential impurities in milk, including a wide range of antibiotics.
The new unit improves upon the testing equipment previously in place. All milk produced in Manitoba is tested for quality at Horizon Lab and for antibiotic residues at processing plants before it is sold to the consumer. If these residues are found, Horizon Lab will conduct additional tests for verification. If any residues are detected in milk, or if it does not meet quality standards, it is properly discarded. In addition to this routine testing, the lab will now also be able to conduct more specialized tests on-site, reducing the need to send samples outside the province.
This equipment can be adapted to provide analysis and food safety testing for a wide range of food products, from cereal grains to meat. It can also identify and measure specific compounds found in food, like levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which may be useful for other agricultural producers and processors.
Horizon Lab is a subsidiary of Dairy Farmers of Manitoba (DFM), which provided an additional $190,000 to install and accredit the new equipment.
Funding for this project came from Growing Forward 2. The federal and provincial governments are investing $176 million in Manitoba under Growing Forward 2, a five-year, federal-provincial-territorial policy framework to advance the agriculture industry, helping producers and processors become more innovative and competitive in world markets.