Certified Laboratories Inc., seen on March 26, 2015, currently occupies...

Certified Laboratories Inc., seen on March 26, 2015, currently occupies 20,000 square feet of space at 200 Express St. in Plainview. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

A food-testing business wants to triple the size of its local operation by purchasing, renovating and equipping a former Northrop Grumman office in Melville for $10 million, officials said Thursday.

Certified Laboratories Inc. plans to buy a 60,000-square-foot building at 65 Marcus Dr. for $7 million. It's been vacant since late 2012 when Grumman further reduced its Long Island presence, shifting more work to Florida and California.

Steven Mitchell, executive vice president at Certified, said it must expand to meet customers' needs. It now occupies 20,000 square feet at 200 Express St. in Plainview.

"We intend to use all of" the new building, he told the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency. "We need the space."

The IDA agreed Thursday to support the project with $631,300 in tax breaks, including $332,000 in property-tax savings over 10 years. In return, Certified pledged to add between 20 and 30 people to its local payroll by 2020.

Mitchell said the 89-year-old company performs tests for meat and dairy processors, pharmaceutical companies and businesses importing food from outside the United States. The tests help to determine quality, safety and nutritional value. He said some of that information is used on nutrition labels for food.

The company's clients include pudding maker Kozy Shack in Hicksville, Love & Quiches Gourmet in Freeport and international chains such as Coca-Cola, Taco Bell and Long John Silver's restaurants.

Certified has been on the Island, in Plainview, since 1995, growing from about 30 jobs to 115 locally.

The company also has operations in California and Illinois, which together employ another 105 people.

Guy W. Germano, the company's attorney, said it had considered moving to New Jersey. Certified is also seeking help from New York State.Certified was established in 1926 by Dr. Charles Paley to test milk in New York City. The Mitchell family purchased control of the company in 1982.

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