Part of Thermo Fisher Scientific
30 July 2005
Oxoid Laboratory of the Year award goes to Westward Laboratories
Oxoid are delighted to announce the winners of the 2004/2005 Oxoid Laboratory of the Year Award, which is organised in conjunction with International Food Hygiene magazine, with the first prize of going to Westward Laboratories, Callington, Cornwall. Other prize winners were:
For Westward Laboratories 2004 was truly a “testing” year. The laboratory was handling 10,000 microbiological tests a week and had a continually increasing workload. Westward’s General Manager, Debra Wielkopolska and Nicola Wilson, Microbiology Manager, studied the problem, looked at solutions and prepared a business case for laboratory automation. Westward Laboratories is part of the Samworth Brothers Group of companies and Debra had to present the business case for laboratory automation to Group Executive Board. The proposal was accepted and building work commenced in March 2004 but even prior to that the whole team became involved in working parties to help design the layout, work flows and the exact equipment specifications. For the next 4 months, the laboratory faced severe disruption as they were literally working on a building site with walls being demolished and new systems installed around them. This was a stressful period as the team had to maintain the high standards and volume of testing with constant changes to their working environment. “Everything changed” says Nicola Wilson, “the microbiology lab moved temporarily to an area that was half its previous size which made for cosy working and the back office became the new fridge. We kept dust at bay with plastic sheeting whilst walls came down and new rooms were constructed and many of us worked with ear defenders on to combat the noise.”
Following the building works, installation of the new equipment took another 3 weeks and for the next two months the laboratory ran the new and old systems side by side to ensure that results were consistent. They were then subjected to two external audits by UKAS and Campden and Chorleywood Food Research Association which they successfully passed.
“There are many laboratories within the food and drink industry who demonstrate their success daily by ensuring that products are safe for public consumption and, in the case of public health laboratories, provide a wider service that encompasses research and education” says Cheryl Mooney, Product Manager at Oxoid and Chairman of the Oxoid Awards Judges. “The judges were unanimous in awarding Westward Laboratories first prize in this year’s Oxoid Awards as they demonstrated success not only in their normal everyday tasks, but identified a problem and proposed a business solution, went through the pain of implementation and achieved their ultimate goal of providing excellent results in their standards of food hygiene and safety.”
Further details of all of the winners will be featured in a forthcoming issue of Oxoid’s Setting Standards newsletter. For your copy, or to register for details for next year’s Oxoid Awards please speak to your local Oxoid representative or contact Val Kane , tel: +44 (0) 1256 841144, fax: +44 (0) 1256 329728, email: firstname.lastname@example.org .