One year on and food safety industry benefits from major merger

Neogen’s acquisition of the 3M Food Safety Division in 2022 has resulted in a greater capacity to work with food safety customers across Australia, New Zealand, and the world.

It has been just over a year since Neogen, experts in food safety and processing, acquired 3M Food Safety, and in that time the advantages of the merger have become evident.

3M’s former Food Safety business offered a broad range of testing solutions that supported multiple industries within food and beverage, helping producers to prevent and protect consumers from foodborne illnesses.

The business built a broad global presence with products used in more than 60 countries and a diversified revenue base of more than 100,000 end-user customers.

Hashitha Perera, division sales manager ANZ, Food Safety, Neogen, said the acquisition of 3M Food Safety reinforced, and grew, the capabilities of the company’s own significant food safety solutions.

“Neogen is all about harnessing the power of science and technology to help provide a safe and reliable food supply,” he said.

“We often use phrases like ‘from paddock to plate’ because we offer products and services for primary producers through to food and beverage manufacturers.

“From a food safety perspective, we have increased our footprint in food diagnostics as part of this integration.”

Perera said the merger had increased Neogen’s presence within Australia and New Zealand.

“With the coming together of us and 3M Food Safety, we have increased the relevance in the ANZ market in the form of a broader portfolio, a larger team, more capabilities, experience, knowledge, and expertise,” he said.

“The entire ANZ 3M Food Safety sales and technical team came over to Neogen in September 2022. It has been a successful year since that transition. We have since expanded the combined team throughout Australia and New Zealand to better support the market.”

The combination of Neogen and 3M’s Food Safety business creates a leading innovator with an enhanced geographic footprint, innovative product offerings, digitization capabilities, and financial flexibility to capitalize on robust growth trends in sustainability, food safety, and supply chain integrity.

“We welcome the former 3M Food Safety team to the Neogen family and are thrilled to unite two organizations with a shared focus of being a leading company in the development of solutions for food and animal safety,” said John Adent, Neogen’s president and CEO.

“Together, we will be at the forefront of food safety and digitization, positioning Neogen as an innovative global industry leader.”

Anthony Watkins, marketing manager, Neogen, echoed the comments of his president and CEO.

“Prior to the acquisition, both companies were already industry leaders in food safety,” he said.

“Today, Neogen can offer a far wider range of high-quality solutions to address specific needs, we have access to some of the absolute best scientific and technical minds and facilities in the world, and we can offer even better locally based distribution and service from an experienced team who understand the industries they support.

“Our network of technical experts has doubled since the acquisition. We now have more than 300 scientists and engineers around the world, who are working to make food safety simpler and more effective,” he said.

Perera reiterated the benefits that have been created by bringing two expert food safety teams together to work on a global, and local scale.

“We have global presence with local support,” he said.

“We explain that all the time to our customers. We highlight the global knowledge, especially for our global customers. We have some customers who operate in significant parts of Europe, North and South America, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.

“Maintaining those relationships at a global level is a benefit for our customers.

“But equally beneficial is having people here on the ground, in Australia and New Zealand, who can provide technical advice and support where it’s needed, when it’s needed. And who can draw on those global resources more efficiently because they understand how to apply them to local requirements.”

“As with everything, the knowledge base of two organisations put together creates more advantage for our customers who we can service even better than we did before.”

Perera said that after the merger they took the best aspects of each organisation, the things they knew worked best, and combined them together in the new organisation. Effectively bringing the best of both worlds together and reinforcing their expertise and extending the reach.

“It helps offset any areas that could have been improved upon in the past. I would think the combined messaging has been a key item of focus,” he said.

One of the big advantages, Perera said, was being able to turn around food testing results quicker than is traditionally expected, which has a positive impact on the commercial outcome for food products.

“From manufacturing facilities to commercial labs, one of the key focus areas for them is to obtain a micro, allergen, chemical result in the shortest period,” he said.

“For example, they need to release a product to the shelf and the product may have a 10-day shelf life and you need to test the product before it can leave the manufacturing facility for the supermarkets.

“That turnaround time for the testing has traditionally taken three to five days. But the real shelf life available for commercial purposes would be another five days, or maximum of seven days.

“If you give that rapid result in as little as 14 hours, then that effectively extends shelf life which is a more viable option from a commercial standpoint.”

Essentially, the acquisition of 3M Food Safety by Neogen, and the integration of food safety expertise, has provided the food and beverage industry with a more extensive expert base with which to work and ensure the best possible outcomes around food safety.

And this is a prime example of one of Neogen’s key mission statements, to make the company and the industries it works with stronger. 

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