Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (, the world leader in serving science, announces the opening of its new product contamination evaluation facility in Sugar Land, Tex. to help food and pharmaceutical manufacturers address safety and quality issues. 

Called Product Assurance Services and Solutions (PASS), Thermo Fisher offers rapid response for companies requiring thorough offsite packaged product evaluation due to foreign object contamination concerns. Additionally, the PASS facility can review products for processing anomalies (such as clumps), as well as missing components (empty pharmaceutical blisters, partially-filled candy trays, etc.).

“We are here to help customers get answers quickly and accurately so that product recalls are avoided,” explains Carl Palmer, PASS manager, North America. “Since we manufacture and sell state-of-the art metal detectors and X-ray equipment globally, we have access to the very latest technology and know the ideal operating parameters.  If needed, we also can quickly obtain additional equipment to facilitate rapid evaluation of multiple truckload quantities.” 

Typically, food and pharmaceutical manufacturers don’t have the time, capability, access to multiple idle detection machines and/or the floor space required to do a thorough review so they look to an off-site solutions provider. The objective is to quickly evaluate, identify contaminants, remove the problematic packages and return the “good” product back to the manufacturer so that it can continue on its distribution journey. As a leader in product contamination technology, Thermo Fisher offers food and pharmaceutical manufacturers multiple advantages over small local and regional entities offering similar services.

Companies send product to the PASS facility for three main reasons.  The first is that they suspect their inspection system missed a contaminant due to calibration or other issues.  Secondly, they have reason to believe a contaminant may be present, but they don’t have the means to detect for it.  A perfect example is trying to find a piece of glass when all you have is a metal detector.  The third reason is they suspect a contaminant may have entered the package after detection took place.  For example, they notice that a bolt is missing from the production line downstream from the metal detector and prior to final packaging.

PASS facility inspection capabilities can handle a broad range of metal, glass, plastic or paper packaging types.  This includes both rigid and flexible structures such as steel cans, metalized film, plastic bottles, blister packs, folding cartons, multilayer materials and more. 

The new suburban Houston facility is the company’s second U.S. PASS location.  (A Barrington, Ill. facility was opened in 2010.)  The new geographic location will help reduce product transport costs for manufacturers located in the South and Southeastern United States.  Additionally, the company has a PASS facility located in Rugby, Warwickshire which serves the United Kingdom and Europe.