Interview: M.P.A José Luis Lara de la Cruz


We received José Luis Lara de la Cruz in the offices of Eleven Rivers; who is a young Engineer of Profession, Agronomist by conviction and Master Degree in Administration and Public Policy, has been in the ambit of safety for more than 10 years. He is currently CEO of the Regional Laboratory of Food Safety (LARIA).


  1. Could you share some of your professional experience?

My professional experience began in 2003, in the Senate of the Republic in the LVIX Legislature, there I collaborated in the dissemination of forums on the modification and adhesions to the national water law. Later, in 2005 I joined the Mexican Association of the Phytosanitary Industry A.C. (AMIFAC), as coordinator of the campaign “Good Use and Management of Agrochemicals”, there I was responsible for implementing actions at national level for the proper use of agrochemicals, training teachers throughout the country with the various auxiliary bodies of SAGARPA and also collaborate in the generation of the first guiding document in Latin America level which was developed in Bogota Colombia for the appropriate use of pesticides focused on the health of workers.

I entered in 2009 to the National Service of Health, Food Safety, and Agro-Food Quality (SENASICA) as Vice Principal of Promotion and Regulation of Food Safety for Plant Products; participating in the implementation of the Pollution Risk Reduction Systems (SRRC) and conducting the first home inspection in the United States of America to evaluate food safety actions. Subsequently, in 2012, I was in charge as Vice Principal to the Food Safety Programs, Regulatory Affairs and Internationals, certifying me in the position in 2014 from which, im responsible of the correct application of the integration of agricultural food safety programs, livestock, aquaculture and fisheries that continue to implement the Auxiliary Bodies of SAGARPA in each federative entity in coordination with state authorities and producers.

Today I have the honor to direct the Regional Laboratory of Food Safety (LARIA), instituted by the Federal Government and the Sinaloa Government to collaborate with Sinaloa growers to make decisions for the prevention and reduction of contamination risks.


  1. What is the importance of science and research for companies in Sinaloa?

It seems to me that the prevention and solution of the various problems that affect companies from Sinaloa can not be achieved without the use of science and specifically research oriented at solving the specific needs of the agri-food sector, in this case on the subject of food safety that due to the conditions of the production processes, changes that are being generated in the environment, research must be constant, accompanied by the use of science and technology.


  1. How does a laboratory such as LARIA link with government institutions and Sinaloa companies?

The LARIA is a unit specialized in the realization of tests, has among its objectives, the support in the identification of the main chemical and microbiological contaminants that affect the food safety. For this reason, the link is sought through the Growers Associations, cooperative organizations and close coordination with the state and federal government institutions responsible for health issues. We focus on promoting food safety in food production in the State of Sinaloa under the precept of shared responsibility supporting in giving greater certainty to companies in which the production they perform has complied with good agricultural practices, livestock, or aquaculture; as well as the Pollution Risk Reduction Systems in compliance with what is established by the federal government and food safety schemes required by the national and international market.


  1. How important is food safety in agricultural production?

It is of vital importance, I could even say that it should be a way of life since it is a cultural subject, it is no longer a trend topic; The food safety began as a demand for producers and today we must see it as a way of life and a culture topic generation. This is considered worldwide; the overall concept of innocuousness is based on the fact that something innocuous is something that “it will not cause you damage”.

For this reason, the production of food must be accompanied by a solid support which demonstrates that the product that is generated will not cause damage to the health of the consumer, is a message that all people want to be clear, that what we consume will not cause us some disease and, therefore, is produced under a system of risk reduction, complying with the application of good practices which translates into a healthy and nutritious food.


  1. What are the main microbiological risks that compromise food safety in agricultural production?

Today the contamination of food by microbiological agents is a public health problem throughout the world. In the last decades, most countries have registered a significant increase in the incidence of diseases caused by the presence of microorganisms in food; the main ones are Listeria, Salmonella, Shigella or Escherichia coli generic and of parasites like Cryptosporidium, these are the main ones that have affected the food safety.


  1. What are the main services that LARIA offered?

Precisely considering the needs and the problems that exist in the matter of food safety, LARIA offers the services in the identification of the main microbiological and chemical contaminants. In ​​microbiology area the LARIA identifies: Salmonella, Shigella, Listeria monocytogenes, E. coli O157: H7, in vegetables; In terms of chemical contaminants, the identification of pesticides and heavy metals in water that could affect food production as well as aflatoxins in maize.

Likewise, we identify the bacterial genome, an important issue in the food safety to know and follow the genetic footprint of a pathogen (it’s like having your birth certificate). These are some of the main services that we offer in LARIA.

For this reason, we are now able to offer free of charge 200 plant and water analyzes to growers within the Eleven Rivers program for the determination of these main contaminants.


  1. Do you have any accreditation and what is the scope?

The LARIA is accredited to the Mexican Accreditation Entity (EMA) for the fulfillment of the requirements of the norm NMX-EC-17025-IMNC-2006, this norm speaks of the general requirements for the competence of test laboratories and calibration.

Its scope is:

  • Determination of pesticide residues in food by Gas and Liquid Chromatography MS/ MS.
  • Determination of metals in drinking water by Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry-Graphite Furnace.
  • Determination of mercury in drinking water by Cold Atomic-Vapor absorption spectrophotometry.
  • Determination of total aflatoxins and Maize by LC-MS / MS Liquid Chromatography.
  • Detection of Salmonella spp. In foods, conventional and molecular methods.
  • Detection of Listeria monocytogenes in foods, conventional and molecular methods.

In addition to having the ISO 9001: 2015 certification that speaks of the strengthening of the Quality Management System and gives the client certainty of having results both nationally and internationally, recognized by the standardization of the System. It should be noted that LARIA recently obtained the recognition by the National Service of Health, Food Safety, and Agro-Food Quality for having the facilities, equipment, technical staff, organization, and operational methods that support the technical competence to carry out microbiological and chemical analyzes which allows us to collaborate with the federal government itself to conduct analysis of contaminants.


  1. How often is it advisable to make laboratory tests in the agricultural operation?

At all times, it is advisable to make samples for analysis of a laboratory; however, at all stages of production should be measured through a hazard analysis and it is advisable to do it at the beginning, during the production stage, in the harvesting, packaging, and transportation, this encompasses everything the productive process. However, to be more precise in taking a sample so that the result obtained serves the producer, I insist that a hazard analysis should be performed with a prevention rather than a corrective approach.

When I speak of the beginning of the productive stage, we must have a risk analysis of the soil conditions, at the production stage, undoubtedly when talking about the management of the product, the hands of the workers, the hygiene of the facilities and everything which involves the process. In the same way in the harvest stage, when various factors such as workers, inert surfaces such as boxes, work tools are involved; always, a sample must be taken to know what conditions prevail in the production process.

Having results from a laboratory that has all the acknowledgments, gives added value to the product, the producer and, therefore, is a valuable tool for the compliance of the processes of food safety and commercial demands.


  1. In what projects is LARIA working for the benefit of Sinaloa companies?

The LARIA considering the integrality of the production systems, in response to the needs that exist in the productive sector, and today is working in the next:

  • Detection of Salmonella spp. On living surfaces (hands of workers)
  • Detection of Salmonella spp. On inert surfaces (tables, boxes, rollers, etc.)
  • Detection of Total, Fecal and coli Coliforms on living and inert surfaces.
  • Detection of Salmonella spp. In water
  • Detection of molds and yeasts in food
  • Detection of Vibrio spp. In water
  • Detection of Total, Fecal Coliforms, E. coli in water
  • Environmental monitoring in facilities
  • Detection of pesticide residues in water
  • Detection of metals in water from aquaculture
  • Identification of Clenbuterol in serum and urine
  • Implementation of the sampling area.


  1. What is the importance of a quality management system for a laboratory of food safety?

Specifically, it is the issuance of reliable results and customer satisfaction, in LARIA we achieve it through:

  • Competent and continuing training staff
  • Work under processes; Order in the execution of activities, as well as in the facilities
  • Adoption of preventive criteria in the processes
  • Use of calibrated equipment, verified in order to guarantee the reliability and traceability of the measurements.
  • Application of good laboratory practices from receipt of samples, transportation, storage, and handling of samples.
  • Use of quality controls to verify the validity of the tests.

This allows the clients to be certain that a laboratory continuously maintains and improves these conditions, which is recognized nationally and internationally, for the standardization of all its processes, recognitions with which the LARIA.


  1. Anything else you want to add?

To invite the growers of the Sinaloa to grant us a vote of confidence in assisting them in conducting both microbiological and chemical trials, in order to provide them with a decision-making tool that will enable them to prevent, that they have the possibility of correcting if it is the case that a contaminant is already present in their production system.

That they make use of innovative technology, qualified personnel, continuous improvement approach and committed actions that exist in LARIA and that they feel satisfied and proud to count in the Sinaloa State with a laboratory of this level, which is the only one which exists in Latin America; that make use of the laboratory, which is with the doors open and we can provide a service. We are entirely at your disposal for what we can support in their food safety processes.

I would like to comment that Eleven Rivers has been a very important scheme, which has been strengthening from its beginnings to now, you see the intense work they have done, congratulate the entire Eleven Rivers team for the great work that they have done, recognize the force involved in having already positioned the Scheme at State, national and international levels.

Also, to thank for the opportunity that give us to make synergy; which is what the growers of the Sinaloa State and also those who are not in Sinaloa need at the end of the day; That they know what is produced and there is in the State and that they know that we are always at the forefront of what the sector requires.

For further information on the LARIA and the services it offers, please call 667 170 1650 and 667 170 1154 ext. 106 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday, as well as to 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.