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NSF expands in Latin America with Peruvian acquisition

By Hank Schultz , 30-Jan-2013
Last updated on 30-Jan-2013 at 15:44 GMT

NSF International announced a significant expansion of its footprint in Latin America with the acquisition of INASSA Group of Lima, Peru.  INASSA provides technical analysis, laboratory and sanitation services. In particular, the move means NSF will be better positioned to serve the testing needs of the huge Peruvian fish oil industry.

NSF International’s reach in Latin America will now include the Peruvian company’s established seafood and pharma markets, according to the company. Now known as NSF-INASSA, the group was founded in 1981 and is a leader in the Peruvian market in quality control, analytical testing, certifications, inspections, training and consulting. The NSF-INASSA Group provides services across the seafood, fish meal, pharmaceutical products, drinking water and mining sectors, and also works closely with regulators and government agencies. NSF-INASSA Group employs over 220 scientists, auditors and environmental health professionals.

A group of NSF officials responded to a request for comment from NutraIngredients-USA.  They are: Sonia Acuña-Rubio, managing director of NSF Latin America, Kerri LeVanseler, PhD technical manager of NSF International’s chemistry laboratories and Raul Juscamaita Medina, country manager for NSF Peru.

Being close helps

An important advantage of the new acquisition as far as nutraceutical markets are concerned is that it now puts NSF testing capabilities in close proximity the  source of the lion’s share of the world’s omega-3s supply, namely the Peruvian anchovy fisheries.

“The seafood industry needs several testing programs in order to meet foreign regulations and market requirements. NSF-INASSA Group is able to analyze these products - in origin, at the factory, port, or destination,  following testing programs that are accredited by Peruvian Regulations,” Acuña-Rubio said.

While crude and refined fish were already being tested, having a facility like NSF-INASSA close to the action is a big step up in quality and confidence.

“It’s important to have an NSF-owned facility in Peru in order to provide testing closer to where it’s needed.  Shipping samples across borders can pose many challenges to companies. The risk is greater that a test sample will become compromised through delays or issues with customs or get damaged in the shipping process,” LeVanseler said.

In addition to the shipping concerns, having an established presence with a 30-year market history on the group will help NSF better serve all of Latin America, the company said.  It’s important to have Spanish fluency in the Latin American markets, and it’s helpful to be in the same time zone, the company said.

Filling in the gaps

The Peruvian and Chilean fish oil industries features a wide range of players, including some operations doing the initial stages of refining in-country, as well as smaller companies with more rudimentary facilities.  NSF-INASSA will be well-positioned to serve them all, the company said.

“The range of testing that a fish oil producer could perform tends to vary from company to company, and many do not have the equipment or technical expertise to perform all necessary testing for their products in-house. NSF-INASSA can help fill the gaps for raw material and finished product testing, including the necessary heavy metals analysis typically needed for fish oils,” LeVanseler said.

The acquisition means NSF can expand its services throughout Latin America to do facility inspections as well as sample testing, Jusamaita Medina said.

“INASSA and NSF are currently working with fish oil producers in addition to fish meal, canned, and frozen products. With the acquisition, NSF-INASSA Group will combine their clients to offer a wider variety of services. Between both companies, we will be able to serve clients in all Latin America,” he said.

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