Are you you looking for a lab to help you maintain your food safety plan? Perhaps you’re wondering which company will provide the best testing service.
How can you tell? Simple. It’s all about ISO 17025.
ISO 17025is a difficult-to-get certification that applies to microbiology food testing laboratories. Every lab, certified or not, conducts its tests with a certain measurement of uncertainty — this is basically the likelihood that the test could be wrong. Every lab also keeps records on the procedures and findings of their tests. The question is: How stringently is a lab doing these things? What measure of uncertainty do their tests have? How traceable and verifiable is every step of every test?
Microbiology food testing labs that are ISO 17025 certified must perform to the highest standards where uncertainty and traceability are concerned. Certified labs must be able to trace back every aspect of a test; every reagent used , every piece of equipment used, every reading taken. These labs are those that officially go above and beyond to make sure their tests are reliable, repeatable, and defendable .
Certified labs are carefully audited every year by professionals who look at everything they do in minute detail. That’s why even labs that say they “follow ISO protocols” can’t be trusted to be as reliable and accurate as officially ISO 17025-certified labs. The certification guarantees an extra layer of monitoring. So when an ISO 17025-certified lab tells you that your food is safe to eat, it is safe to eat.
ISO stands for International Organization for Standardization, an independent, non-governmental international organization comprised of 163 national standards bodies. ISO maintains international standards that cover not just food safety, but just about every industry, including technology, agriculture, and healthcare.
Choosing a lab that consistently performs up to the standard of this organization — and is certified to be doing so — acts as insurance for your company.
Imagine for a moment that you hire a lab with lower standards, which hands you a report saying you have listeria in your production room. You put $50,000 of food production on hold and quickly get a second opinion from an ISO 17025-certified lab, which finds the result was a false positive. You trust the certified lab more than the unverified one, so you restart production after losing several days for the testing process. If you hadn’t re-tested with a certified lab, your losses would have been far greater.
You can prevent this type of costly problem but having your testing done by at the highest-quality labs from the start.