Moving your food safety testing to in-house laboratories has the potential to help get your product to shelves quicker and safer.
However, there are a lot of factors to consider when making a move to internalise food safety testing. Let’s break it down.
The benefits of in-house food safety testing.
Making the switch to an in-house food testing lab can feel overwhelming, but there are several benefits that can help get your product to market quickly and safely.
- Reduced testing costs – With in-house food safety testing, you save on fees that you would pay to external laboratories, including shipping costs.
- Faster reaction time – Your quality assurance team can react more quickly to any potential issues allowing you to resolve problems in a timely manner, helping you minimize disruptions to your supply chain.
- Reduced warehouse space – If you can release your product sooner due to quicker testing, you can help decrease inventory levels, which may allow you to operate in a more efficient manner.
What to consider when moving food safety testing in-house.
When considering if in-house food safety testing is right for your facility, a good starting point is to decide which procedures you can bring in-house.
This involves doing a risk assessment before making any final decisions. Many facilities begin their assessment first with hygiene monitoring and allergen detection, followed by indicator testing, and then pathogen testing. Pathogen testing has an extra risk of cross contamination that needs to be considered.
- Hygiene monitoring - A good hygiene monitoring program is an essential part of any food processing facility’s operations. Regularly testing for biological contaminants like indicator organisms and pathogens can help you identify problems and take the necessary corrective actions. The 3M™ Clean-Trace™ Hygiene Monitoring and Management System in tandem with the 3MTM Clean-TraceTM ATP Test Surface Swabs can offer your team a complete system of solutions to help keep your surface safe.
- Allergen testing – Food allergies are an increasing concern and it’s important to check raw materials and product-contact surfaces to help ensure food is free from allergens. 3M’s allergen testing products can offer you a perfect solution. The lateral flow devices give you qualitative testing (absence-presence) results in 11 minutes. The tests are also easy-to-use and read. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kits are another option for identifying allergens which provide more details as they use a quantitative approach compared to a qualitative one.
- Quality indicator testing – The 3MTM PetrifilmTM Brand method is a simpler and less-labour intensive method compared to traditional agar. The benefits also include less incubation time and storage space. 3M offers a portfolio of rapid plates that can give you results as fast as 24 hours, compared to the average wait time of 2-5 days for traditional agar.
- Pathogen testing – The 3MTM Molecular Detection System is a great option for in-house pathogen testing. The small, yet powerful machine is compact enough to fit into any lab or desk, while testing up to 96 samples per run. Presumptive positive results can be identified in as little as 15 minutes allowing you to save on time compared to sending samples to a third-party laboratory.
Many facilities adapt to conducting in-house food safety testing by using minimal lab space and implementing rapid food testing methods. This can potentially reduce the need to invest thousands of dollars by strategically selecting the most relevant tests for your facility.
Contact a food safety expert today.
Our team can offer easy-to-use products with the right training material and a service team that you can always rely on.
In-house food safety testing has the potential to provide many benefits that could increase your operational efficiencies.
To learn more about in-house testing products or to discuss potential testing options for your facility, contact a 3M representative today.