Food is the critical element of today’s economy. The safety and quality of the food hold higher significance than ever. With significant lifestyle changes where packaged food is the new standard and cold storage is preferred over fresh produce, ensuring high-quality standards is equivalent to ensuring one’s health. The food testing protocols have become more stringent over time, and more and more new reforms are upgraded to maintain all safety. However, it often goes unnoticed the number of wide-range testing performed before accrediting a product as ISO approved. Below is the exhaustive list of what all testing of food samples includes.
What dangers does food testing cover?
The prime concern for introducing testing tabulation is to cover all possible risks that food might be exposed to and transmit to our bodies. HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, and it is a preventative method that ensures all food safety manufacturing follows the Codex Alimentarius International Food Standards. The HACCP system’s goal is to demonstrate that products are appropriately made for consumer health and safety by avoiding three types of hazards:
- Biological Hazards
It refers to hazards such as Salmonella and E. coli bacteria are examples of microbiological dangers.
- Chemical Hazards
This type of hazard denotes contamination with chemicals used in agriculture and the manufacturing of raw materials, such as antibiotics, plant growth substances, and pesticides, as well as food additives like preservatives, and chemicals used in the production/processing plant, such as oil, grease, and cleaning agents for equipment and machinery.
- Physical Hazards
Glass, metal, plastic, or wood are examples of foreign materials in food that might cause disease or damage to the buyer.
Every food product needs to undergo thorough testing and analysis before marketing. The practice is significantly vital since food allergies are more prevalent and known to people. Food allergies can put consumers at risk of an allergy attack or health deterioration.
List of tests for food products
Authentication is required in the food manufacturing business to guarantee that their goods are safe, contain no pollutants or residues, and offer correct nutritional information. According to the US Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), food safety systems must include microbiological testing and verification to verify that food is produced and kept in a safe environment and that preventative procedures are working correctly. Specific testing criteria apply to particular programs. The testing includes the following techniques to generate comprehensive reports and analysis for approval and certifications.
- Analytical chemistry
This testing is the study of separating, identifying, and quantifying chemical components of natural and manufactured materials, such as pH, additives, colors, pollutants, preservatives, minerals, and trace elements, among others.
- Food Microbiology
Food microbiology testing is the study of microorganisms that live in or contaminate food. Food poisoning outbreaks caused by food items and components can be investigated and prevented by testing spoilage organisms and pathogens. It has several food safety measures to prevent food poisoning outbreaks.
- Nutritional Analysis
Producers and importers/exporters should be well informed of the appropriate rules and regulations. Food labeling information that manufacturers must place on food packaging to comply with destination country labeling laws says the National Food Standards Agency
- Allergen testing
Food allergens are proteins that can occur in high amounts and are frequently left behind after food preparation. Gluten in grains, peanuts, eggs, nuts, milk, and soybeans are among the allergens that must be evaluated in food items.
- Sensory testing
Sensory testing is the use of the human senses to identify food product characteristics. Olfactory receptors in the nose detect rancidity in a product during scent testing. The tongue’s sensory organs can see the level of sweetness in food products during taste testing.
The testing is performed on all food products, nutritional supplements, and functional/nutraceutical foods. The testing includes-
- E.Coli testing
- GMO testing
- Pet Food testing
- Shelf-life testing
- Organic Food testing
- Melamine FDA Detention Testing
- Residues and Contaminant testing
- Microbiological testing
- Supplements and Natural Products Testing
- Food labeling and product development
To prevent edible products from being enrobed with contamination and hazards, laboratory testing under predetermined norms and protocols is essential. As per the ISO and FSMA, food manufacturers need to adhere to food testing, analysis, and certifications per the applicable terms and conditions.