When a shortage of infant formula hit the U.S. this year, Eurofins stepped up.
The international lab company, which has locations in Madison and New Berlin, helps infant formula companies test their products to ensure they’re safe and nutritious. As a third-party lab, they supplement internal testing or do it entirely for some organizations.
Edward Ladwig, president of food chemistry testing at Eurofins, said they knew there would be a “giant ramp up” to meet demand as the industry and regulators worked to address supply chain challenges and issues related to the closure of one of the nation’s largest infant formula plants.
As a “main artery” in helping get infant formula on the shelves, they wanted to make sure they weren’t a “choke point,” he said.
So they bought a six-month supply of testing ingredients to ensure they didn’t run out.
“We also increased our capacity by 30 percent, put on weekend shifts, night shifts, those sorts of things, to make sure that we can test around the clock to ensure that we’re not a bottleneck in the system,” Ladwig said.
The company is now testing 400 to 500 units of infant formula every day.
Ladwig said they’re helping startups that are seeking to enter the market too. That includes performing nutrition and microbiology analysis as well as helping them to do the formulation of the product to meet the Food and Drug Administration’s standards.
Eurofins’ Madison site tests infant formula for contaminants like salmonella and nutrients to make sure what’s on the label is actually in the formula. The company’s New Berlin lab tests supply chain ingredients for contaminants.
Ladwig said the supply chain for infant formula is already starting to right itself.
He expects that in the next few months, they’ll be back to normal levels for testing the product. But since the company serves a number of food industries, he’s anticipating they’ll maintain their increased capacity.
“We’re planning on keeping all the capacity that we can,” he said.
Eurofins is part of BioForward Wisconsin, the state’s biohealth association.
BioForward Wisconsin CEO Lisa Johnson said Eurofins put in an “all-out effort” to help address a national crisis, playing a critical role in quality control to make sure that infant formula is safe for babies.
“I think that’s obviously a huge credit to Eurofins to be able to jump on this as quickly as they did,” she said.