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gemac

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Posted 04 June 2020 - 04:06 PM

Hi Lesley,

 

as food packaging manufacturer (direct food contact, folding box board), BRC certified, we need to start the EMP. Can you advice about laboratories which are helpful in this subject and cost effective?

Many thanks

Hi Chenyunl

 

Best of luck with your project & perhaps I can be of some assistance here?.

 

I used to manage a central testing laboratory which analysed samples for microbiology/ chemistry/pathogen and was staffed by 24 technicians, testing for 16 production sites across the UK. The site where the laboratory was located was lucky because the laboratory was at the bottom of a hill (meaning the water course flowed AWAY from production) and it was also a transport hub (meaning chilled samples could be brought to the site daily, along with routine foodstuffs FOC).  The laboratory was accredited to ISO17025 (there is a cost involved in this), but if it hadn’t been formally accredited, we would have been obliged to follow the principles of the standard to ensure accuracy of results (BRC mentions this & probably other standards as well?).  Maybe you could get hold of a copy of the ISO17025 standard to see what is involved?.

 

Having the laboratory on site was only economical because we cross-charged the other sites for conducting their testing & were able to purchase the reagents/media in bulk (reducing cost). Every year I was obliged to provide a cost comparison of our laboratory outgoings, including instrument calibration costs, media, chemicals, salaries plus revenue from other sites for conducting their testing and compare these to external testing costs. 

 

As I recall using our inhouse laboratory was cheaper by approximately £45K a year (across 16 sites) but this was primarily due to economies of scale when purchasing disposables/chemicals/media and deployment of staff.  Had this been a stand alone facility I’m certain it would have been cheaper to test externally.

But, if you can make it work for you financially that would be ideal, as so much information about microbiology & pathogens seems to have been lost because we are increasingly disconnected from our 3rd party laboratory service suppliers!.


Edited by Charles.C, 05 June 2020 - 01:20 PM.
split from thread 38156


Ryan M.

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Posted 04 June 2020 - 07:05 PM

You won't save much money at all unless you plan to test everything in-house, which others have mentioned is a risky proposition with pathogens.  The only thing you will really save is turn around time on the sample testing, but if you don't have production on weekends how will you handle the Friday samples for in-house testing?

 

Based on your testing volume do what others have recommended; continue sending out, but get competitive bids from other laboratories.  Also, look and see if other laboratories have faster turn around times (not sure if that is a big deal to you).

 

All things to consider.



FurFarmandFork

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Posted 04 June 2020 - 07:07 PM

Don't do a per test analysis. Labs become inexpensive only with scale. The "part time onsite lab" savings aren't there.

 

You have equipment maintenance for your incubators, water baths, autoclaves, etc.

 

All of the materials to prepare and validate/verify media when you make it.

 

A complex waste management stream.

 

Tons of documentation even just to do the minimum lab verification (such as proficiency checks vs. an ISO certificaiton)

 

And tons of customers and auditors who will all question whether the lab is legit or not.

 

Management blaming internal cross contamination any time there is a postiive result, therefore ignoring them....

 

Unless you are running a 100,000 budget for micro testing at the moment, the best you hope for is to break even while losing all the benefits of a certified lab.


Austin Bouck
Owner/Consultant at Fur, Farm, and Fork.
Consulting for companies needing effective, lean food safety systems and solutions.

Subscribe to the blog at furfarmandfork.com for food safety research, insights, and analysis.

Charles.C

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Posted 05 June 2020 - 01:57 AM

Some confusion perhaps.

 

Probably needed a new thread.

 

I don't think post 11 related to in-house labs ??

 

Gemac ????


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


gemac

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Posted 05 June 2020 - 07:55 AM

Hi Charles

 

You're right, probably I need to create a new thread. We need to start the  Environmental Monitoring Plan, as food packaging manufacturer. My objective is to optimize the process and all cost related thus I'm looking for a knowledge/experience in this subject in the UK. So, I appreciate info about UK labs (England preferred) who can help to manage it.

many thanks

Some confusion perhaps.

 

Probably needed a new thread.

 

I don't think post 11 1 related to in-house labs ??

 

Gemac ????



Charles.C

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Posted 05 June 2020 - 01:47 PM

Hi Charles

 

You're right, probably I need to create a new thread. We need to start the  Environmental Monitoring Plan, as food packaging manufacturer. My objective is to optimize the process and all cost related thus I'm looking for a knowledge/experience in this subject in the UK. So, I appreciate info about UK labs (England preferred) who can help to manage it.

many thanks

You may find it easier to go through a Consultant (despite the cost) as far as BRC advice is concerned although IMEX some Labs may well do Both ( inc. maybe "free" advice).

 

I appreciate it all depends on your own Resources but there is also a substantial amount EMPG info on BRC Packaging here, eg -

 

https://www.ifsqn.co...mp/#entry160955


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


pHruit

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Posted 05 June 2020 - 01:52 PM

There are a large number of labs in the UK that could do this, given that you're unlikely to need anything particularly complex or unusual.

If it's useful to have a sample collection service from the lab pick things up for testing then I'd start by looking at who is in your area and has UKAS (ISO17025) accreditation.
The UKAS website is useful for this - you can put the name of a lab into the search box, or the name of a town/county etc: https://www.ukas.com...organisations/

You could also try the big groups (Eurofins, ALS, Concept Life Sciences, Intertek etc) as an alternative, and indeed it's worth getting quotes from a few different sources as they will probably vary slightly.

IMEX the smaller labs tend to give better service but may not be quite so competitive on price, although there are of course exceptions to this ;)



Foodworker

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Posted 05 June 2020 - 06:11 PM

Most of the labs listed above are perfectly fine, they all have good days and bad days.

 

It may be that you currently use a laboratory for water or legionella testing which is also accredited for the work that you want.

 

Before approaching them, you need to work out what it is you are going to be asking them to do. This should be one of the outcomes of your risk assessment (ref clause 4.8.5) and includes the type of organism, sampling method etc.

 

Most of the labs can do all of the common bugs, some will supply swabs or settle plates depending upon what you want and some will do a sample pick up if you are fairly local.

 

If your query is more how to do an environmental risk assessment, that is a different question which not many labs get involved in themselves.






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