Bristol

Bristol food and drink testing laboratory to close

A food testing laboratory in Bristol is to close at the end of next month.

Thirteen members of the city council's scientific services team are losing their jobs and an external contractor will be sought to carry out the work.

A city council spokeswoman said the Public Analyst Laboratory was not making enough money to remain open, and closing it would save £200,000.

Bristol has had its own public laboratory testing food and drink for more than 100 years.

Most of its workis commissioned by the city council, including trading standards officers, and other local authorities including Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire Councils and the private sector

The laboratory also tests food, water, soil and air samples and provides a scientific advisory and analytical service.

'Difficult times'

A council spokeswoman said some of the 13 staff were looking at voluntary redundancy whilst others were looking to be redeployed within the council.

Council public analyst Philip Stanley said: "Nationally there is a reduction in the amount of work that trading standards and environmental health want these labs to do.

"When this lab shuts you can have over 200 years of experience that will just be lost, that will very difficult to get back."

Adrian Jenkins, public protection manager for Bristol City Council, said: "Departments are having to prioritise what they spend their money.

"Basically, labs like the public analyst in Bristol have got to be covering their costs."

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