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Guidance on starting an in-house laboratory

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#1 The Food Scientist

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Posted 11 June 2020 - 01:13 PM

Hello everyone,


So my company is looking into starting our own in-house laboratory. (to cut cost and time from sending samples out to 3rd party labs).

anyone worked on starting an in-house lab at their facility? Is there any guidance docs/manuals they can send me that would be helpful? Are there any training we would be needing to undergo? Company is SQF certifified. 


Thank you!

Everything in food is science. The only subjective part is when you eat it. - Alton Brown.

#2 olenazh


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Posted 11 June 2020 - 01:56 PM

One of my clients (ice cream manufacturer) has the in-house lab where every batch is tested for TC and E. Coli - and it's extremely helpful and cost-saving as there's no need to send samples to the external lab, only expenses on Petrifilms, buffer solution and some other small stuff. The lab is very simple having just fridge and incubator (sink and tables don't count:)). However the lab is not accredited (Standard Council of Canada accreditation). So, once a month, several samples are sent to the accredited lab for verification testing - this is done as per CFIA request as they say non-accredited lab testing results are not officially recognizable. I also know a little bit about SCC accreditation from my experience of working at the Ministry of the Environment (I was helping them prepare documentation for this SCC accreditation) - it was such a headache! Every 2 years the same story with findings, corrective actions, writhing/re-writing whole bunch of documents. I'm not trying to scare you, just telling what I know...

#3 Ryan M.

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Posted 11 June 2020 - 03:04 PM

olenazh is correct.  Your lab won't be accredited unless you have a third-party certification and personnel conducting testing are certified.  Accreditation can be a real headache and really only worthwhile if you have customers that require accredited testing results.


No real manual or guide that I know of, but you have to first determine what testing you want to do in-house.  A good resource can be the AOAC official test methods.




Once you determine the testing you want to do in-house you have to source materials and equipment.  Get quotes for the costs of the materials and equipment and compare that, including labor cost, to the cost of testing in an outside laboratory.  You also have to account for turn around time on the testing results.  In many cases in-house testing is faster which can be attractive depending on the company and the testing.


Good luck!  

#4 SQFconsultant



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Posted 11 June 2020 - 04:36 PM

One of our clients is taking at a look at this company that basically sets up the whole process and delivers a lab in a box plus provides training...


Kind regards,
Glenn Oster
GOC Group | +1.800.793.7042 | Serving the Food, Food Packaging & Food Storage Industry
SQF Development, Implementation & Certification Consultants
Serving the beautiful United States of America - all of it!




#5 TimG


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Posted 11 June 2020 - 05:58 PM

One of our clients is taking at a look at this company that basically sets up the whole process and delivers a lab in a box plus provides training...



Interesting. Would you/they mind giving us all some feedback once they get that set up?

We've been kicking around the idea here as well.

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