The Mississippi State Chemical Laboratory(MSCL) is a state agency that regulates animal feeds, fertilizers, agricultural limes, human foods and petroleum products (sold in the State of Mississippi), in cooperation with the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce (MDAC), and other regulatory agencies. The Lab’s responsibilities include registration of products sold in the state and the promulgation of rules and regulations for the proper enforcement of the laws governing these products.
Housed on the campus of Mississippi State University, the MSCL (Title 57 Chapter 21-9) falls under the Office of the State Chemist and conducts analyses in support of enforcement of these laws by providing assistance to industry, performing analysis of toxic chemicals for farmers, hospitals, doctors, veterinarians, law enforcement agencies, and provides other analyses of interest to State citizens. It provides chemical, physical, and microbiological analytical services in support of food regulatory programs, sharing regulatory authority in specified areas of food protection with the Department of Health, the Department of Agriculture and Commerce, and the Department of Marine Resources.
- Under state statute, MSCL develops regulations and specifications dictating quality and safety of animal feeds, fertilizers, agricultural limes and petroleum products sold in Mississippi.
- Under state statute, MSCL conducts analysis of inspected animal feeds, fertilizers, pesticides, agricultural limes and petroleum products sold in the state to insure they meet quality and safety specifications in support of state enforcement programs.
- Under state statute, MSCL conducts analysis of food, agricultural commodities, soil and water for the presence of chemical contaminants (e.g. pesticides, antibiotics, melamine) in support of state enforcement programs.
- MSCL makes available analytical services used in regulatory programs to other agencies, industries, and private citizens.
- MSCL leverages analytical capabilities to assist University research activities benefitting the State of Mississippi.
The MSCL provides critical support to the agricultural interests in the state. Agriculture is Mississippi’s number one industry generating 6.3 billion dollars in revenue and employing 29 % of the state’s workforce either directly or indirectly. Examples are:
Assuring the quality of fuels in Mississippi
The MSCL is responsible for testing of gasoline, kerosene, diesel and antifreeze sold in the state in support of regulatory programs. Last year the MSCL analyzed over 2000 petroleum samples including renewable fuels (biodiesel).
Assuring the quality of livestock feed in Mississippi
The MSCL is responsible for testing all livestock feed sold in the state for nutritional quality in support of regulatory programs. Last year the MSCL analyzed over 4000 samples of livestock feed.
Supporting enforcement of pesticide misuse
MSCL tests approximately 400 samples each year to assist Mississippians in pesticide spray drift cases, pesticide misuse and improper applications in support of state regulatory programs.
Assuring the quality of fertilizers and agricultural limes in Mississippi
Approximately 1,200 fertilizers each year are tested by the MSCL for nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium content in support of regulatory programs.
Assuring the quality of crop protection products in Mississippi
Regulation of pesticide quality is important to the agricultural productivity in Mississippi. MSCL tests for composition of pesticides in order to regulate those used in state agriculture.
Assuring the quality of retail foods in Mississippi
The MSCL is responsible for testing retail food commodities for adulteration by contaminants as well as supporting enforcement action for misbranded and mislabeled food.
Assisting the agricultural industry in Mississippi with producing safe foods and feeds
MSCL performs mycotoxin monitoring in support of insurance claims for crop loss due to aflatoxin contamination. Last year, MSCL tested 572 corn crop samples and 287 corn-based feed samples for total aflatoxin contamination from impacted counties throughout the state. Over $ 192 million in losses due to aflatoxin were reported from a $550 million dollar Mississippi corn crop.
Assisting Mississippi catfish producers in certifying safe consumer products
The catfish industry represents 199 million dollars in state revenue. MSCL certifies catfish to be free of chemical contaminants for national and international sales and tests imported seafood for contaminants.
Assisting Mississippi farmers in determining protein, fat and fiber in hay
Hay represents a 116 million dollar income for the state of Mississippi. MSCL certifies the nutritional values for this product.
Assisting Mississippi’s seafood industry in safeguarding consumer products
Over 300 seafood samples have been analyzed for petroleum contaminants in support of the BP oil spill. This allowed safe consumption of seafood products harvested in the gulf, as well as the reopening of the State’s waters for the fishing industry.