Foreword Vol.3 Nr.2

Affidia’s editorial policy is to provide insights into topics that are often neglected by other journals.

Every article in this issue is relevant and interesting, but I first want to direct your attention to the article by Francois Bourdichon and Anett Winkler, “Analytical laboratories in the food industry: in-house or third-party? (Or both?)”. This article is useful for quality managers (QMs) as they choose whether or not to outsource, which service laboratory to choose, and how to evaluate internal or external laboratory performance.

The authors point out that while the number of regulated contaminants have increased considerably in recent decades, outsourcing testing is not always an option, given the cost of instrumentation and labour.

However, highly reliable and inexpensive screening tools are available to test certain high-prevalence contaminants. So when and where can food business operators (FBOs) verify screening results and where can they send samples to test for low-prevalence contaminants when test kits are not available or are not reliable? How can they measure the efficiency of internal and external laboratory controls? How should they choose an external laboratory? How should they choose the right test kits? Francois and Anett write that

“…the expertise to determine and define the most appropriate parameter, matrix, and value methodologies should be kept internally. This includes the capability to sample and interpret results, whether the testing itself is conducted in-house or at third-party laboratories. …[And] it is of utmost importance to maintain the internal expertise as outlined above because a failure to do so may lead to the choice of inadequate third party laboratories or expose the business to a major risk of failure….”

The unfortunate reality is that in smalland medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), this type of expertise is rarely present in-house. I have visited hundreds food processors, and most of the time there are just two or three people in the lab and they are so busy they have no time to attend workshops or courses to keep updated and neither the QMs nor HACCP consultants are knowledgeable about analytical chemistry. This is why Affidia is working on a new project to help food SMEs, FBOs, and retailers choose appropriate third-party laboratories, evaluate results, and develop business plans for analytical controls. Our system, FoodTestHub, will make it easier for chemists to manage and control analytical results and for QMs to control internal and external laboratory costs and efficiency. If you would like to know more about this project, please register on our web site. You may even have an opportunity to beta test our new platform as we disrupt the food testing arena!

Our new initiative, FoodTestHub, and articles like this are just some of the ways Affidia is committed to helping FBOs operate more efficiently as they provide safe, quality foods to their customers. In this issue, you’ll also find interesting and useful articles about India’s food safety system, zoonotic illnesses, CRISPR, antibiotic resistance, the modernization of Russia’s laboratory testing system, aflatoxins in milk, and much more.

Be sure to write to us at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments, or feedback.

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