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.
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:
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).
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.
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.
Approximately 1,200 fertilizers each year are tested by the MSCL for nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium content in support of regulatory programs.
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.
The MSCL is responsible for testing retail food commodities for adulteration by contaminants as well as supporting enforcement action for misbranded and mislabeled food.
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.
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.
Hay represents a 116 million dollar income for the state of Mississippi. MSCL certifies the nutritional values for this product.
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.