CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait – The 994th Medical Detachment (Veterinary Services) set up the first U.S. Army Reserve-operated food surveillance laboratory in Third Army’s area of responsibility early this month.
The mission of the food surveillance laboratory is to ensure all food here is safe and ready to eat, according to Chief Warrant Officer Ronald L. Todd Jr., food safety officer, 994th MDVS, and native of Lafayette, La.
“Normally, if we suspect that food was contaminated, we would have to send it out to a lab in Europe,” explained Todd. “Now we have the capacity to test it right here.”
“We want to make sure all food is safe for consumption,” Todd explained. “This lab gives us the ability to rapidly respond to possible food contamination.”
“We already do sanitary audits of our food suppliers, and routine receipt and surveillance inspections,” Todd said. “This will add one more layer of protection.”
The lab is also capable of running both microbiological and chemical analysis of food and drinking water.
“Quarterly tests are run on products that show signs of distress, possible contamination, for shelf life extensions, or simply for assurance of quality,” said Todd.
The food surveillance lab is an unprecedented accomplishment in theater.
“It was a difficult process getting the equipment and the space,” said Maj Dickie Vest, 99th MDVS commander and a native of Magnolia, Texas. “We had good people working hard and we got it done.”
The 994th MDVS is ready and willing to go above and beyond to protect service members by ensuring the food served here is free of contamination. Third Army’s support in setting up this lab proves its dedication to maintaining the safety of all service members and civilians.