Is your business planning to launch your food product in the market? Or directly putting, is your business focusing on ensuring the safety of your food product? Because, there could not have been a better time than now to realize the importance food testing labs. The demand for high quality and reliable laboratory is on all-time high, owing to the rise in customers’ demand for chemical and microbiological testing on foods and surfaces. Not to forget the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations, which are prompting the businesses to consider and choose a food testing laboratory before jumping to the launch of the food product. So, what are the things you need to consider while choosing a food testing laboratory? Let’s discuss.
- To use Accredited Laboratory
Just recently, the ISO standard that food testing laboratories use have been updated from ISO/IEC 17025:2005 to ISO/IEC 17025:2017. Therefore, it is imperative to approach only those laboratories that are accredited to this standard. Asking potential laboratories about accreditation status is always a plus. Furthermore, official ISO website and other websites of the accreditation bodies such as A2LA and ANAB can be helpful in learning more about the standard.
- To seek Suggestions from Peers
Seeking suggestions from peers to know the details of the food lab’s day-to-day realities is another help. As mouth publicity tends to move around pretty quickly in case of lab using shady practices or failing frequently to deliver on its services, you can talk to your peers and know what they have heard about the potential laboratories. But, of course, you have to verify the facts that are being shared as well as consider colleague’s experience, knowledge and total credibility.
- To Realize Your Needs
Generally, food labs that are geared with on-staff microbiologist presume that you realize what you want from them, and that you are associated with lab lingo, which makes time consumption less and delivers result swiftly. This is really great in case you are a food microbiologist. But what if you are not? In that case, you will be awestruck by how lab communications can be so much cryptic in some cases. Therefore, it is recommended that you pin down your needs before you reach out to laboratory.
- To Set Allowable Limits
Now, that you know what your needs are, you need to be completely aware of the required allowable limits for your specified activity. To know the required allowable limits, you can refer to customer specification, food regulations in your country and also external certification standard. Once you are aware of this information, you can further compare your allowable limits with the detection limits of the potential food testing laboratory.
- To have a Recall Plan
In case, your food product is tested positive, it can result in some serious costs as well as a recall and anxiety about business’s survival. To avoid the later questions and the situation of not knowing the next actions, one should always have a recall plan in motion in case things go sideways. Your team should be aware of the actions that should be taken in case of a presumptive positive. Because if you don’t have a recall plan, you’ll be like tripping through a mine field and hoping for things not to go against your business.
Finally, don’t forget that working with a food testing laboratory is a long term investment and planning before you set things in motion, can save you from a lot of troubles.