News | April 27, 1999

Ecolab Sues Over Sanitation Test Distribution

Ecolab Inc. (St. Paul, MN), a supplier of cleaning and sanitizing products and systems, has filed suit against supplier Biotrace Inc. (Plainsboro NJ) and Neogen Corp. (Lansing, MI) for breach of an exclusive distribution agreement. Ecolab claims the contract gives it the exclusive right to distribute Biotrace rapid sanitation testing equipment to customers in the food and beverage industry in North America. Ecolab alleges that Biotrace Inc. breached this agreement by adding a second distributor, Neogen, in Ecolab's exclusive territory.

"This situation is causing confusion in the marketplace," said William Mathison, GM of Ecolab's Food & Beverage Div. "Our primary concern is to ensure an uninterrupted and timely supply of Biotrace products to our customers."

Neogen, a manufacturer and supplier of food safety diagnostic kits, has responded that Ecolab's lawsuit was without merit, and that it expects to prevail should Ecolab pursue the legal action.

"This lawsuit against Neogen has absolutely no merit," said James Herbert, Neogen president. "We do not have, nor have we ever had, a contractual agreement with Ecolab."

Herbert added that Neogen is currently considering its possible legal remedies to Ecolab's action. "We have never received any notice of wrongdoing from Ecolab, and they issued a press release announcing their suit before we were ever served, " said Herbert.

According to Neogen, Ecolab had earlier notified Biotrace that Ecolab does not intend to continue its distribution agreement that expires in a few months.