The work of notified food labs has increase manifold with an increase in food import and export. Globalization has increased awareness of the type of food products available in various parts of the world and these are exported from the home countries and imported to into other countries. Global import of foods and food products has increased the need for food safety. Testing laboratories play a key role in testing foods to ensure that no harmful contaminants enter the country through imported foods.
Importance of food testing
In India food is imported according to the FSSAI’s Food Import regulations. The imported foods go through stringent food testing in approved testing labs. Imported foods are tested in approved food testing laboratories for physical hazards, microbiological pathogens, chemical residues as well as other contaminants. Importing foods poses food safety challenges because the safety parameters in different countries differ and food labs inside the countries test foods according to their own food regulations.
Exporters also use food labs to test their products so they are within parameters of food regulations before exporting them out of the country. Therefore exporters use testing laboratories to test their products for non-permitted colours, additives, ingredients especially in nutraceuticals. Foods are also tested to ensure that the nutritional value on the labels matches the content of the food products. Food manufacturers can face litigation due to false claims or for use of non-approved ingredients, colours and additives. Therefore, to avoid any legal hassles it is important to get products tested in an approved testing laboratory where the tests and testing methods are authentic.
Ready for all food testing challenges
Testing laboratories are well equipped and have personnel that are trained to carry out testing on all manner of products. These could be products that have a short shelf life and are perishable and includes dairy, Fish and meat products, bakery goods, canned products, packaged foods or agricultural produce. The use of pesticides and fertilizers and antibiotics on animalsas well as environment pollutants has increased the need for testing foods.
NABL accredited and FSSAI authorized food labs can test food products for international clearances. Most EU, as well as the US take into consideration the exporting country’s food regulations and also the environment in which the food has been grown, including availability of potable water for irrigation, diseases in farm animals, as well as contamination from water run-offs and environment which have an impact on food safety. Foods are also tested to ensure that insects and eggs do not get exported with agricultural produce. Food testing laboratories carry out food testing for contaminants according to the available information.
There are special export items like Basmati and spices that are reputable foods from India. They are tested thoroughly so they are not rejected by other countries. Food testing lab scan ensure that these special items are tested in detail as an authentic quality assurance certification plays a key role in their export.