With a grant from the World Food Programme to update their facility, Ghanain maize processor Premium Foods looked to Partners in Food Solutions for assistance with setting up a lab at their facility. Premium Foods decided that in order to stay competitive, building an internal lab would allow them to conduct their own analysis while meeting stringent legislative market requirements and statutory legislation. “An internal lab will provide important food quality results in less time than if we continue to send them to external laboratories,” said Maxwell Bruce, food safety apprentice at Premium Foods. “Therefore, our team can reduce waste by conducting checks in real-time on raw materials, work-in-progress materials, and take corrective actions sooner before the product reaches the final stages.”
To assist Premium Foods in setting up their lab, PFS sought the advice of a volunteer who had lab and grain quality expertise. Curtis Rainey, an assistant quality manager at Ardent Mills, seemed to be just the right fit. “I love the opportunity to help others in the food industry,” said Curtis. “It’s also a fun way to get outside the normal daily grind and learn something new.”
Working on this project with Premium Foods was a bit more involved than the typical projects Curtis works on. “Because I was involved in the development of the analytical lab from the ground up, I got to take part in decisions like which countertops were purchased and discuss what the best testing methods are.” In addition to some of the more detailed parts, Curtis also helped develop procedures for the lab layout, setup, usage, and calibration of different testing procedures.
“Curtis has been a great help to us,” said Maxwell. “He assists in documentation and advises us on what to do to make this project a success. Plus, with Curtis’ help, our staff will know how to conduct laboratory analysis at the end of this project. The expertise we’ve tapped into from the volunteers, such as Curtis, will help us do similar projects on our own in the future and/or enable us to help other businesses in our country.”