A spokesman for the firm, which was owned by Cadbury and acquired by Kraft Foods when it bought Cadbury last year, said one new analytical tool could carry out three-dimensional, composite X-rays. He described it as "a machine that basically does a CAT scan of samples". This is "great for looking at the microstructure of food for investigating foreign bodies", he added.
There had been "massive investment in new labs", he said. "We are talking millions [of pounds]." The cash injection would enhance its analytical services for food processing clients and enable it to carry out food testing projects more quickly, RSSL claimed.
The firm has also introduced three ultra-high performance liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS) units, two of which will be used for routine analysis and one for investigative work. This has expanded the list of vitamins it can test for in food and drink to include biotin, vitamin B12 and folic acid. Methods for testing for other ingredients were currently under development.
"More of the tests currently done by HPLC are being transferred across to UPLC-MS," said Marta Ahijado Fernandez, laboratory manager for RSSL's functional ingredients laboratory. "UPLC-MS is a big step forward for analysis of vitamins and other functional ingredients and using this technology we are able to give clients a greater confidence in claims substantiation."
Separately, RSSL had been doing a lot of work on practical allergen management training with clients that involved hands-on experience in factories.
Following its acquisition, RSSL's role was expanded to provide global science and technology support to Kraft. In addition, it has continued to provide consultancy, training and other services to the wider food industry.