A new ambient-temperature food examination facility has been formally opened at the Port of Felixstowe, the Port of Britain, by Transport Minister Robert Goodwill MP.
The £4 million investment included a major refurbishment and expansion of the examination facilities and the provision of new offices for Suffolk Coastal Port Health Authority.
Commenting on the new facility, Robert Goodwill MP said:
"This new state-of-the-art facility will ensure that vital imported products stay as fresh as possible. Some 40 per cent of the food on our supermarket shelves arrives by sea, so it must be checked efficiently in the most hygienic conditions.
"The significant investment currently underway across the UK means our major ports remain world leaders, contributing billions to the UK economy and creating thousands of skilled jobs."
Steve Gallant, Suffolk Coastal District Council Cabinet Member for Community Health, said:
"The new inspection facilities are built to an incredibly high standard - safe, clean and hygienic - to maintain the integrity of the food chain to the highest requirements of upcoming legislation.
"We have a very productive partnership with the Port of Felixstowe, and this is delivering best practice in terms of Port Health. Now our staff are next door to each other, we can get examinations done even more quickly. Being neighbours will also allow a closer understanding of each other's business and that can only lead to even better efficiency and effectiveness in the future."
Clemence Cheng, Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Felixstowe and Managing Director of HPH Europe division, added:
"We are committed to a programme of investment across all parts of the port to ensure our customers receive the highest possible levels of service. The new ambient-temperature facility is the latest example of this commitment. The dedication of our experienced examination facilities team, and the close working relationship they have with the Port Health authority, will ensure that together we deliver the very best, most efficient inspection process of any UK port."
The new facility covers an area of 3,045 square metres with a further 840 square metres of office space and meeting rooms for both port and Port Health staff. Separate examination chambers, including segregated areas for dusty products such as chilli, spices and other powders, allow multiple consignments to be examined without the risk of contamination.