Microbac Laboratories Testing What We Eat, Drink and Breathe
At 1962 Wager Rd. is a place called Microbac Laboratories Inc. It's one of 25 Microbac labs across the country, where the employees provide testing services for many different industries.
"It's a really diversified network of laboratories doing anything from environmental to food, to bio fuels. We do pharmaceutical testing, we do consumer product and industrial product testing," said Larry Lewis, managing director of the Erie location.
Employees like Jill Gee spend their days working with beakers, tubes and fire, making sure some of the important things we need in our lives are safe.
"On a day to day basis we are checking the quality of food, water, and wastewater for the environment and food sectors," said Gee, a technical director of microbiology.
What's interesting about Microbac is their business comes from all the other local businesses in the area. That's because their job is to make sure other local companies are meeting health codes and regulations.
"At one point or another over 40 years we've touched a lot of the businesses and industries that are in the Erie area," said Lewis.
They're hired by local companies, like a restaurant for example, to come in and test their food and water, to make sure it meets health inspection guidelines. Take ice cream for example.
"Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has a regulation that all frozen desserts, soft serve ice cream, is tested on a monthly basis. Make sure it's safe for consumption. So we will go into a convenience store or a fast food store and test the soft serve ice cream on a monthly basis," said Andy Mason, business development and client services manager.
Beyond that they'll test swimming pools, household paints, asbestos, air quality, and much more, to make sure what we eat, drink and breathe is safe. It's a pretty important role.
"I believe it's very important. It's public health. We are looking out for the consumer. We're testing their water, their food, their ice cream. We are making sure that what the public is being served is safe," said Gee.
And it's a role they take pride in.