Food Safety Testing


Some Important Applications of Food Safety Testing Technology

Though perhaps requiring a little more effort than today, life in our grandparents’ day was a lot simpler in many respects and this would have been particularly true when it was time to shop for edibles. Vegetables would have been bought from a farm or market stall and usually freshly picked on the day of purchase, while many would have grown at least some of their requirements in their own gardens. For a joint of beef, lamb, pork, or a fresh chicken, a visit to the local butcher would have seen the joints cut to the size required and the chicken dressed and ready for the oven. From these fresh ingredients, most would prepare home-cooked meals on the day of purchase or the day after, and many even baked their own bread.

With chemical fertilisers and pesticides rarely used, and fresh food free of all artificial additives, the need for safety testing back then was minimal. However, since those times, life has changed dramatically. Economic pressures have created the need for both husbands and wives to seek employment, creating additional costs for after-school care and even greater pressure on the breadwinners. Preferring to avoid additional toil at the end of a busy day, most people are looking for a quicker and simpler option to obtain their sustenance. The response has been the growth of a global processed food industry that promises to be worth more than three trillion US dollars by 2020.

With the profits come responsibilities and governments have been taking steps to ensure that the industry meets these with stringent regulations regarding the preparation, packaging, storage, and distribution of food, which have made laboratories equipped with the apparatus and reagents required for an appropriate programme of safety testing an essential extension of their core operation.

It is a requirement that affects many different types of product. While it is often true that some may have common needs, each may also have its own unique requirements and quality control measures will need to address these in different ways, perhaps calling upon different technologies to do so. For instance, a company involved in the production of dairy products such as milk in cartons, cream, yoghurt, and cheese may be required to check lactic acid levels in all of these, or milk urea nitrogen, lactose, ammonia, chloride, alkaline phosphatase, furosine, and peroxidase in milk.

In butter or egg preparation, it could be the concentrations of butyric acid, cholesterol, and the total acidity that must form part of a quality control programme. Among the aspects of safety that are especially vital to the preparation of all foods and beverages are freedom from harmful bacteria and known allergens. While the latter may not always be possible, it is at least important to determine this through testing and to provide an appropriate warning on the packaging where indicated. In terms of bacterial contamination, tests are directed at workers, work surfaces, and batch samples of the finished product.

The range of instruments and reagents for such purposes is extensive, so to ensure that products are accurate, sufficiently quick and easy to use, one should purchase proven products. We at IEPSA embrace this belief, and supply only those from world leaders in food safety testing.

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