Customer Newsletter December 2016

Message from the CEO

Welcome to our second customer newsletter, which we continue to use as a mechanism to communicate to our clients on news within the organisation. I am pleased to report on the exciting developments that have occurred with Symbio Laboratories during 2016.

  • In July 2016, Symbio Laboratories began laboratory testing services for Seqwater, who manage catchment health and deliver water supply to South East Queensland. Securing this work was the culmination of several years of adding to our capabilities in the environmental sector, including phycology services, and is an extremely important addition to our growing portfolio of customers.
  • In October 2016, our Sydney laboratory moved from the George Weston Technologies site in Enfield to a new facility at Lane Cove West. This relocation enables us to offer further services to our customers and provide a larger, more modern facility for our staff.
  • Our new eResults platform was released in August 2016. As a market leader in eResults reporting, with a team of our own IT experts, this latest upgrade to our eResults platform enables us to offer this service to all our clients.
  • In November 2016 Symbio Laboratories became an incorporated company thus providing a sound structure for our continued growth.
  • December 2016 saw the acquisition of Food Laboratories Australia Pty Ltd in Abbotsford, Melbourne and we are delighted to welcome their staff and clients to Symbio Laboratories. With two sites now in Melbourne, Symbio will continue to operate from the Abbotsford and Brooklyn sites for at least 24 months, with plans ultimately to combine both sites into one single purpose-built facility. In the meantime, both labs will work together to continue to provide clients with the quality and service they’ve come to expect.
  • Up until December 2016 we have added a further 29 methods to our NATA scope in this calendar year.

This progress, however, doesn’t come at the expense of quality or service to our clients. Our Quality Index sits at 99.7%, meaning that 997 out of every 1000 samples submitted to our laboratory are processed without error or oversight. Our annual customer survey also continues to reflect that our clients are receiving the service and quality they require, a result of which we could not be prouder.

As we head into 2017, our 20th Anniversary, we have many more exciting developments to look forward to. With investment in IT solutions and innovative projects, we will ensure Symbio Laboratories continues to provide our clients with high quality, cost effective analytical testing services, and the industry’s fastest turnaround times.

On behalf of all the Directors and staff at Symbio Laboratories, thank you for your support in 2016, and we wish you a safe and happy Christmas.

Kind regards,

David Phillips


Symbio Laboratories


eResults Platform

Our commitment to consistent, accurate results and analysis is now matched by our ability to provide clients with their results via an on-line portal. Ensuring that results are made available as soon as possible, the eResults service is available to all Symbio customers free of charge. With a recent upgrade, our secure on-line feature enables customers to view, filter and query their results in real time.

We know the service is fantastic, but we aren’t the only ones! This is a snapshot of feedback from clients since the new service was implemented:

“Could you please pass on my appreciation to your IT guys for the way they have set up the eResults. This application has allowed me better and real time visibility of your system that I didn’t know existed.  We are now able to view results and the best thing is we don’t need to copy, print and file records in our system which was adding to the congestion within our system of data files. Thank goodness for our thinking people”

“Please pass on our compliments to the IT team on the development to assist with reporting results”

“We like the format of eResults and will use more in the future to track and trace samples and look to expand into trending”

“Your responsiveness and our ability to do urgent testing (and eResults) means I’m not prepared to even look or review other laboratories”

The web platform is available through the Symbio Laboratories website and is accessed via the Symbio eResults tab. For set-up in the new eResults system, or to look at a demonstration of the system, simply call your account manager or our Customer Service Team.

Spotlight on our Customer Service Department


Left to right) – Our Brisbane Customer Service Team – Joe Liu, Andrew Mackey,

Elizabeth Chester (Customer Service Manager), Caitlin Tran, Aleisha Sydney

If you call the 1300 703 166 number, chances are you’ll end up speaking with one of our friendly and knowledgeable Customer Service Team.  With the skills and experience to work through your testing requirements, and the knowledge to answer any questions you may have, our team monitors issues and liaises with the Laboratory Managers. The team can also arrange your consumable supplies such as swabs, water bottles, eskies and sample bags.

The team, led by Elizabeth Chester (Bachelor of Applied Science Degree majoring in Food Technology), includes:

  • Joe Liu has a Master’s Degree in Science majoring in Food Microbiology and is our resident expert in all things meat related
  • Andrew Mackey has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Zoology and a PhD in Marine Biology. As our Environmental expert, Andrew looks after our water and environmental clients
  • Caitlin Tran is an Honours graduate with a Bachelor of Applied Science Degree majoring in Food Technology
  • Aleisha Sidney has a Bachelor of Applied Science Degree majoring in Agronomy. Having worked previously in our login area she is experienced in all the tips and tricks for getting your samples processed without issue

Missing from the team photo is Pamela Chivandire, our newest Customer Service Officer who is based at the Abbotsford, Melbourne site.

Simply call 1300 703 166 between 7.30am to 5pm , Monday to Friday or email

2016 Customer Survey

Thank you to all our valued clients who took the time to complete our recent Annual Customer Survey.

Your feedback provides us valuable insights from the customer perspective in regards to the quality of our service offering. This year the survey was distributed to a wider number of contacts within each company, allowing for a more comprehensive opportunity for feedback.

Overall, results show that Symbio’s customer satisfaction is high, which is further reflected by the number of clients who responded that they have been a customer of Symbio Laboratories for over 3 years (approximately 65%).

The majority of you told us that the main reasons you choose Symbio Laboratories over another lab provider were:

  • The accuracy and reliability of our results,
  • Our superior customer service, and
  • Our wider range of competitively priced tests available.

It seems many of you are also benefiting from our growing number of laboratory locations.

Additionally, Symbio Laboratories is reportedly able to complete all of the analytical testing requirements for over 75% of respondents. This is a great result, but with our expectations being as high as your own, that still leaves some opportunity for further improvement.

Your suggestions for new methods will be assessed by the respective lab departments for possible inclusion in future method development work.  We are constantly adding to our scope, so please check on the website for regular updates.

Of course there are always improvement opportunities.

The survey highlighted that many of our customers are not aware of the availability of access to our eResults platform. Gaining eResults access is simple – just contact your dedicated Account Manager or the Customer Service Department, who can set you up with an account.

We hope the inclusion of the article in this newsletter will help to answer any questions you may have had in this regard.

We pride ourselves on our test turnaround times, but we understand that you are always looking for results faster! Symbio will continue to pursue emerging methods, and strive for internal efficiencies (through equipment and processes) to ensure that the best possible turnaround times in the market are available.

Feedback Always Welcome

Remember, you don’t need to wait until the next customer survey. Symbio welcomes your feedback at any time, regarding any aspect of our service offering.

We are dedicated to remain the leaders in our field, and with your feedback we are able to carefully shape our future direction.

Once again, thanks for contributing!

Keeping Samples Cool in Transit

cooler-bag-819092_1920With summer now upon us, an important reminder to customers of the importance of including more frozen ice bricks in eskies. The cold ice bricks will ensure that your sample arrives in optimal condition and ready for analysis.

Symbio has prepared the following guidelines on how to correctly pack your esky:


Environmental Capability

Environmental Account ManagerSymbio Laboratories is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Grazia Gargiulo as Environmental Account Manager. Grazia comes to Symbio Laboratories with a background in environmental consulting, and brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience which will assist Symbio Laboratories to expand its environmental testing capabilities into new and existing markets.

Grazia’s focus will be to provide technical support to our clients in the environmental sector, with the focus on assisting customers with their environmental testing requirements for:

  • Soil and sediment – dredging spoils, contaminated land sites, acid sulphate soil and agricultural soil
  • Air quality – dust
  • Waste – effluent, solid wastes
  • Microbiological testing, including natural attenuation and bioremediation

Reducing turnaround times with new instruments

With our focus on accurate and timely results and analysis, Symbio Laboratories has recently purchased and installed new instruments aimed at reducing turnaround times.

In Sydney, the instruments are the Shimadzu UHPLC (Ultra-High-Pressure Liquid Chromatography) and the Shimadzu GC (Gas Chromatograph).

The UHPLC instrument is capable of accommodating six (6) columns with two (2) detector options. The new system can run multiple analyses at once, reducing turnaround times (TATs) and increasing efficiency. Some of the types of tests that can be run include folic acid in flour and premixes, vitamin B1 in flour and premixes, benzoic acid in flour and sorbic acid in baked products.

shimadzu-gcms-tq8040-editThe new GC instrument has significantly reduced run times for fatty acid profile analysis, used in the breakdown of fats (Trans, poly, saturated and mono) for nutritional panel testing.

Symbio Laboratories in Brisbane recently acquired three (3) new instruments (Shimadzu GCMS – TQ8040, Shimadzu UHPLC 8060 Mass Spectrometer and a Metro Titrator) used for multi-residue and chemical analysis of grain, fruit and vegetable, and all other food products.

These instruments will continue to deliver on the level of quality expected by customers, and further expand on the testing capabilities by Symbio Laboratories to assist clients with their analytical testing requirements.

Abbotsford Site Brings Total Laboratories to Seven

Symbio LaboratoriesSymbio Laboratories has acquired Food Laboratories (Australia) Pty Ltd, a Melbourne based laboratory serving the dairy and other food industries in microbiological and chemical analysis.

The acquisition, part of our five year strategic plan, was an important element for expanding operations in Victoria and now brings our number of laboratories to seven (7); Brisbane, Sydney, Abbotsford (Melbourne), Brooklyn (Melbourne), Rockhampton, Wagga Wagga and China.

Food Laboratories has operated continuously for over 80 years to support and assist a variety of food manufacturing companies. They are well established and respected with a high level of quality service which fitted with our own business model.

Like Symbio Laboratories, Food Laboratories was privately owned, with the owners and Directors working in the business in day-to-day roles. This was an important consideration taken by the Directors in Food Laboratories in their decision to sell the business to Symbio Laboratories.

This addition broadens Symbio Laboratories’ scope, and allows our customers to enjoy a one-stop shop for their testing needs, as well as having access to new laboratory services.

Hand Swab Kits

Woolworths, one of Australia’s leading distributors of food suppliers and processors, has added a new requirement to their standards that their food suppliers must meet.

All Woolworths suppliers must now test their employees’ personal hygiene via hand swabs, and meet the following criteria:

Critical Limits for Hand Swabs Post Hand-Washing:

Standard Plate Count <10

During Production Critical Limits:        

Coagulase positive Staphylococci <100

Enterobacteriacae or Coliforms <100.

For your convenience, Symbio offers two options for Hand Swab kits that can assist you in meeting Woolworths’ new requirements.

Option A: Hand Swab Sample and Testing kit

Symbio Laboratories is able to provide suppliers with on-site hand swab sample kits, which can be conveniently used and returned to Symbio Laboratories’ labs for testing and analysis.

swabs-enewsletterThe contents of the kits, which come conveniently packaged in ready-to-use eskies, are as follows:

  • Hand Swabs,
  • Ice Bricks,
  • A return pre-paid consignment note,
  • Complete instructions re: how to perform necessary hand swabs and returning them to Symbio Labs for analysis, and
  • Analysis Request Form (ARF) for the required tests.

Option B:  Testing only

Alternatively, we can provide you with the necessary Analysis Request Form, including test codes, via email. Upon completion of the ARF, customers can return it and their own swabs to Symbio Laboratories for testing and analysis.

Kits are also available for Cleaning and Hygiene validation required by the Woolworths standards.

For further information, including pricing, contact our friendly customer service team or your account manager.

Symbio Website Blogs

dust deposition

Our online blog contains regular articles to further inform our customers in matters relevant to their testing and analysis needs.

In case you missed them, we’ve recently covered topics such as:

  • Monitoring of Algae Blooms
  • Detection of Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia Coli in Flour
  • Is your Cricket Flour Genuine?
  • Factors to Consider When Taking Environmental Samples
  • Dust Deposition Analysis
  • Residue Testing in Grain
  • Shelf life Testing
  • Legionella Queensland Heath Requirements

Check them out here

How to Get Your Sample to the Lab

A commonly asked question by customers is how to send samples to the lab without physically dropping them off.

Regardless of your location, there are several convenient options available. We can supply you a courier consignment bag for overnight delivery to one of our facilities, or suggest various courier services in your region to assist with the transportation of your samples.

Alternatively for our regular customers, Symbio’s own drivers may operate in your area, and can collect your samples at no extra cost.

For answers to other common questions posed by clients, visit our new FAQ page on the website.

Symbio Staff News

queens birthdayAs a firm supporter of developing from within, we are very pleased to announce the following appointments within Symbio Laboratories. A combination of new and existing positions, they have all been filled by current employees receiving well deserved promotions!

  • Michelle Leo – National Microbiology Manager (Microbiology)
  • Girish Lakhan – State Laboratory Manager Microbiology (Victoria)
  • Jason Roumimper – Laboratory Manager Environmental (Brisbane)
  • Sharada Sharma – Laboratory Manager Chemistry (Sydney)
  • Rachel Wen – Laboratory Manager Microbiology (Sydney)
  • Warren Chan – Procurement Manager

Christmas Period Operating Times

Our Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Wagga Wagga sites will be open except for the mandated public holidays of 26-27 December 2016 and 2 January 2017.

If you are planning on testing or submitting samples leading up to Christmas or over the Christmas/New Year period, please contact the Customer Service Team or your Account Manager to discuss your project timelines and required service delivery.

We wish all our clients and suppliers a safe and happy Christmas!