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Posted 29/07/2021

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Kate Lewis, Director and Technical Manager of microPoint Laboratories

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Kate Lewis, Director and Technical Manager of microPoint Laboratories

In this week's edition of the Food Safety Select Member Spotlight Series, we ask Director and Technical Manager, Kate Lewis, all about microPoint Laboratories - A microbiological testing facility, based in Sydney that is known for providing accurate and high-quality testing services and excellent customer service to an extensive range of food businesses.

What is the story behind the establishment of microPoint Laboratories?

MicroPoint Laboratories was created in 2018 by two food science professionals who wanted to provide a connected approach between the laboratory and the food business. From our laboratory and food safety auditing backgrounds we could see businesses testing what they were told to test (by a customer, an auditor, or a regulator), or not testing appropriately. Most were not using their testing data effectively, if at all. 

The majority of food manufacturers no longer have a dedicated microbiologist, and outsource most of their testing. We wanted to bridge the gap so that our customers could access our expertise, understand their results, prevent issues from occurring, and ultimately protect their brands.

Tell us about microPoint Laboratories and the services you offer.

We are a NATA accredited food microbiology laboratory, offering a wide range of pathogen and indicator tests. Our range of pathogen tests can be reported in as little as 24 hours using the latest technology. 

We help our customers with routine testing requirements but also with more complex planning and execution of their shelf-life or challenge tests.

We offer sample collection services, provide swabbing and sample collection materials, access to online results, result in interpretation and try to keep things as simple for our customers as possible.

Who are microPoint Laboratories food industry customers? 

MicroPoint customers include small, medium, and large foodservice and manufacturing businesses. Some of our customers are food safety or product development consultants that use our laboratory as an extension of their own services.

Many of our customers are licensed high-risk businesses that have regulatory requirements to test their products at a set frequency.

We provide testing services for vegetable processors, whole produce, bakeries, seafood processors, smallgoods manufacturers, aged care organisations, dairy, poultry, confectionery, chilled and frozen meals, and restaurant groups.

Are your products affordable to small businesses?

Definitely. We are more than happy to work with other small businesses to make sure they get a cost-effective testing program in place.

How are your services helping food businesses with food safety and compliance? 

Very few food businesses have an in-house microbiologist. We want our customers to feel like we are part of their team. We communicate things simply and directly. Our customers are more than welcome to give us a call to discuss their testing.

If things do go wrong, and they do sometimes, we will offer on-site help with product contamination or quality issue investigations. We assist in identifying the root cause and plan appropriate rectification so that businesses can get back to operating and selling their product as quickly as possible. 

What are some of the advantages of microPoint Laboratories services over its competitors? 

We work very closely with our customers and build personal relationships. We are owned and operated by food science professionals, so we understand what our customers need. Every sample is important to us and yours is not lost in a batch of thousands of other samples.

Fast turnaround times are very important, we can offer a wide range of pathogen results within 24 hours, something that many laboratories cannot currently offer. 

We add value to the testing process by offering data analysis, microbiological risk assessments, project planning, and microbiological expertise that can be difficult and expensive to access through larger laboratories. 

What sort of support is available to your customers? 

We offer phone/email support options to all customers. If a customer is having product contamination or quality issues, we can come on-site to get the problem solved efficiently. 

We also offer assistance with planning shelf-life and challenge studies – this can be complex and its very important to get the planning right so you have meaningful data (and a safe and suitable product) at the end. We collate and analyse project data for our customers.

Working with our customers to set up trend analysis systems for their routine data is very important to us, we get great satisfaction in seeing our results put to use.

Where can customers find microPoint Laboratories and what locations do you service?

We are based in Homebush, NSW and we predominantly service Sydney Metropolitan area. We are more than happy to service regional areas and interstate, and can arrange the transport if needed.

Visit our website www.micropointlabs.com.au 

Which 3 words best describe microPoint Laboratories? 

Accurate. Respected. Experienced.

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