A Nestlé official says a $31-million expansion to its Quality Assurance Center in Dublin, Ohio, will help the company continue to anticipate and exceed food quality and safety standards.

The facility, which now serves as the lead quality assurance center for Nestlé’s businesses in the Americas, grew to 82,000 sq. ft., nearly double in size. The expansion also included the addition of a 32,000-sq.-ft. microbiology lab, a renovated chemistry lab and other amenities.

Aaron Ayres, director of the Dublin quality assurance center, says operations have been “ongoing,” but the facility’s official reopening was marked with a celebration on Aug. 10.

“With Nestlé products in 97 percent of U.S. households, consumers have a right to expect more from us - and we hold ourselves accountable for their safety,” Ayres says. “Our customers trust us to deliver on that commitment, and this expansion is a crucial element in strengthening that trust.”

More than 220 chemists, microbiologists, food scientists and quality specialists at the Dublin location provide specialized laboratory services, factory hygiene and food safety systems to Nestlé production facilities throughout the Americas. The Dublin center also has the capability to test Nestlé products, ingredients and manufacturing environments to verify that they meet regulatory requirements and the company’s own standards for quality and safety.

“Our philosophy on quality is that compliance is simply not enough,” Ayers says. “At NQAC Dublin, we go above and beyond food safety regulations to test products from farm to fork, from the environment to the raw ingredients to the packaging and finished product.”

Nestlé is among the supporters of the Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act, which focuses on preventing food safety issues, rather than reacting to them when they occur. President Barack Obama signed the legislation into law on Jan. 4, 2011.

The Dublin expansion follows the grand opening of the $50-million Nestlé Research and Development Center in Solon, Ohio, in 2015. The 144,000-sq.-ft. facility employs 120 chefs, consumer researchers, packaging specialists, designers, engineers and scientists.