Local food and drink grown in northern Ontario to be tested at new lab in Sudbury

The growing food industry in northern Ontario is sprouting a local science spin-off business. Capella Innovation is a new lab for testing food and drink in downtown Sudbury.

Food testing lab opening with financial help from Northern Ontario Heritage Fund

Microbiologist Navin Asokumar works in the food testing lab at Capella Innovation, soon to open in downtown Sudbury. (Capella Innovation)

Food and drink produced in northern Ontario will soon be tested in the north as well.

A new food testing lab called Capella Innovation is about to open in downtown Sudbury.

It's the brainchild of local biologist Andre Ferron and his wife Lucie Plante, who is a dietitian.

"People in the north are producing very good products, so it's very important for them to test for the quality of their products and also the safety," says Ferron.

He says there is a growing number of breweries and distilleries in the north that need their products tested for alcohol content.

Ferron says they have equipment to test maple syrup and honey for sugar levels, as well as check cheese, meat and other local food products for pathogens such as e.coli and salmonella.

Couple Lucie Plante, a dietician, and Andre Ferron, a biologist, are the owners of Capella Innovation. (Erik White/CBC )

"It's not mandatory for them to do the testing. But the law says they cannot put something on the market that is unsafe for people to eat. So testing the product is like an insurance for them," says Ferron.

He says this will be the only such lab north of Toronto and will allow companies to get their products to market quicker without waiting for test results to come back from southern Ontario.

Ferron says they first had this idea years ago, but are now moving ahead thanks to funding from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund and the Business Development Bank of Canada. 


Erik White


Erik White is a CBC journalist based in Sudbury. He covers a wide range of stories about northern Ontario. Connect with him on Twitter @erikjwhite. Send story ideas to