A revolution in the accountability and quality of food laboratory testing may be underway due to the Food Safety Modernization Act. Already, proposed regulations acknowledge the significant role laboratory testing plays in the detection and identification of microbiological and chemical hazards. They call for the use of verification testing, environmental monitoring, and product testing, and outline procedures to account for these activities. A section of the law calls for the recognition of laboratory accreditation and the development of model laboratory standards, all of which may set a new benchmark that all food laboratories must strive to meet.
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Explore this issueJune/July 2015
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Microbiologics, a global provider of biological reference materials used in laboratory quality control processes, commissioned a third-party survey to ascertain the level of laboratory standards currently employed by food laboratories. The survey offered 186 food laboratory directors, quality assurance managers, and technical supervisors the opportunity to participate in an online survey. Surveys were sent to individuals working in laboratories within food manufacturing companies and to independent food laboratories. Individual responses are anonymous and Microbiologics only received results reported in the aggregate.
When asked where testing is conducted for their facility, 37 percent stated an onsite laboratory is used while 15 percent used a contract laboratory. A majority of respondents, 63 percent, used both an onsite and contract laboratory to meet their food testing needs.
These laboratories fulfill a wide range of testing needs. A majority of respondents, greater than 60 percent, indicated each of the following testing types are conducted by their laboratories: environmental monitoring, finished product testing, ingredient testing, raw material testing, verification testing, and validation testing.