Currently, even the best commercial independent food testing laboratories cannot rule out bio-terrorism from taking place in our food products. Any requests for identification tests regarding this can be directed to public or state health laboratories. Most of these laboratories make up the Association of Public Health Laboratories and are also part of the National Laboratory Response Network (LRN). This network of state and public laboratories is a well-designed system that links these laboratories with highly advanced and bio-safety facilities so that they may provide surge capacity in the event of bio-terrorism.
State and public health laboratories are also a part of the Food Emergency Response Network (FERN). This is a newly formed organ which is responsible for carrying out different coordinating methodologies and offering training programs and facilities that enable the identification of biological, radiological and chemical contaminants that can be found in food products. This organ is a result of joint efforts between government agencies; mainly the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Department of Agriculture (DA), and various Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). FERN was designed and implemented in order to enhance different capabilities for assessing various bio-security threats and responding to them.
Participating facilities include national and regional government laboratories that fall under the jurisdiction of the FDA, DA, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, State Public Health, agricultural and veterinary laboratories, county health laboratories and university laboratories.
Choosing an Independent Laboratory
Companies that require chemical or microbiological testing on their food products can use various independent food testing laboratories. The information below will help in choosing the right laboratory for food testing.
When choosing a laboratory, companies should send their officials to get information on that particular laboratory's credentials. They should check for credentials such as ISO certifications. Other certifications may also be important, such as the FDA Interstate Milk Shippers Program. Together with their active participation in testing activity, they may be a display of proficiency such as that which is approved by the Association of Analytical Communities.
Using any of the above mentioned methods will aid in choosing an independent laboratory. This can assist in achieving the most accurate results possible.