New multi-million dollar animal and food safety lab opens in Tulare

TULARE, Calif. (KFSN) -- A new state-of-the-art, multimillion dollar laboratory opened in Tulare Friday. It's the newest branch of the California Animal Health and Food safety lab system.

The important work to be done at the Alex Ardans Tulare branch laboratory will begin next year. But Friday, some got a glimpse inside the 29,000 square foot, $49 million facility, including Karen Ross, the secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

"The importance of a diagnostics lab like this that has cutting edge science," she said. "From the research community that can be used in our regulatory decision-making process, cannot be emphasized how important it is to protect animal health, food safety, and public health so I'm excited to see this investment here in Tulare."

The California Animal Health and Food Safety laboratory system, with other branch locations in Davis, Turlock and San Bernardino, is designed to detect foreign animal diseases and outbreaks, to protect animal and human populations. Tulare branch chief John Adaska said they will continue that work here, performing necropsies and looking at tissues through the microscope.

"The new things that we'll add in here is some PCR techniques, which is molecular biology, where we can detect viruses or bacteria that are present in very small amounts, very quickly," Adaska said.

The building is named after Alex Ardans, the former director of the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory system. Or, as Adaska puts it, a giant in the field of veterinary diagnostics.

"And so he really moved the state of veterinary diagnostic laboratories forward tremendously," he said.

When it opens, producers or veterinarians will bring in sick or dead animals, like cows, chickens and goats. And the lab will go from there to detect and, ultimately, protect animals and humans across the state.
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