What We Test at Our Ingredient Analysis and Food Testing Laboratory
For more than 150 years, Medallion Labs has met the needs of food companies. We provide a broad range of testing capabilities and rigorous methods. Today, our food analysis testing lab serves a diverse selection of products and ingredients. However, there are some testing requests we do not support.
This blog will help you understand our four most commonly requested tests. You also learn critical details for these and other testing options. Finally, we’ll explain which types of products and tests we cannot accommodate. This information should make it easier for you to submit samples for testing and help with any confusion regarding what food products we can accept.
1. Nutritional Label Testing
Nutritional label testing is the most commonly requested service from Medallion Labs. Not only are we experts in nutritional testing, but we are also an ISO accredited lab that delivers high-quality testing in this area. Medallion Labs puts focus on nutritional testing because the FDA and USDA have strict mandates for product labeling. These mandates ensure consumers have access to safe food products. Additionally, having properly identified components and accurate quantities support healthy eating habits.
Medallion Labs can test most food products. Occasionally, we will need to ask additional questions about samples to clarify details about the sample matrix and to define test goals. Doing so ensures we use the most appropriate test methods and meet all reporting needs. Customers will find that further clarification is often needed when seeking testing for products such as supplements, alcohol, and cannabidiol (CBD).
There is a limited list of products for which Medallion Labs will not provide nutritional label testing. The products include pet food, pharmaceuticals, drugs, washer fluid, chemicals, solvents, soil samples, skincare products, alcohol, and biohazards. In each of these situations, the items fall outside of our testing protocols and method capabilities.
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2. Specialized Testing
Medallion Labs has nearly 30 specialized assays available to meet a customer’s needs. In certain situations, our capabilities can extend beyond this list of tests. Before accepting and testing samples for specialized testing, Medallion Labs will often consult with our client to ensure that goals are understood and results will be delivered in a meaningful format.
If a customer wants to test a matrix that is not listed among our tech data sheets, we ask them to contact us. Our expert team can determine if our test method is validated for your specific matrix.
If you have questions regarding a specific finished product, providing an ingredient list whenever possible is very helpful.
Please understand that some materials are unable to be run for specialized testing. These include biohazards in addition to the unacceptable matrices listed on our technical datasheet.
3. Physical Property Testing
The Physical property testing process often begins with customer consultation. We establish testing goals and how results should be delivered. This consultation ensures Medallion Labs’ testing protocols will answer a customer’s specific question.
Our testing lab provides 19 physical testing options. Each one is intended for food products. While we can often modify methodology to test specific matrices, it’s important to note that there can be testing limitations based upon a product’s parameters. For example, some physical tests can only be conducted at ambient temperature. This aspect may post limitations on products such as ice cream or other products that need to stay frozen or refrigerated throughout the testing procedure.
The only broad category Medallion Labs does not offer physical property testing for is biohazard materials.
4. Microbiology Testing
Medallion Labs has 18 microbiology testing options. These tests help ingredients and food products:
- Meet expectations
- Avoid product risk associated with food safety
- Adhere to regulatory guidelines
Any customer who plans to send in a sample submitted for a microbial assay and chemistry-based assay will need to make sure to send in an ample sample. Micro testing requires ~100g of sample per test to ensure that a representative sample is analyzed since many microorganisms tend to grow in “hot spots.”
There are a few product categories we do not test internally. One such category is water and air quality testing. We’ll discuss testing options for this and other testing capabilities with our customers as needed.
Products that Medallion Labs does not accept for microbiology testing include:
- Large samples (50lb bags)
- Products connected to food poisoning
- Products with confirmed microbe activity or visible spoilage
- Products with highly hazardous microbes
- Products that are biohazards
Also, Medallion Labs cannot return product samples to a client after testing is complete. Humans or animals should not consume any sample that enters the lab.
Obtaining Accurate Results Depends on Proper Customer Input
Some of the specialty testing options offered by Medallion Labs require a questionnaire to be completed before sample submission. While our questionnaires tend to be comprehensive, certain tests require additional information in order to analyze them effectively and accurately.
Some commonly requested tests that require additional details are:
Flavor Characterization Testing
The technical data sheet for this test contains a link to a mandatory questionnaire. The answers will dictate if we can test for the compound before accepting the sample. The questionnaire will also inform our team if a control is required.
A questionnaire must be completed before a sample is received, as all of our shelf life studies are custom designed for each product. These answers are essential to our ability to design a test protocol. We may also require an additional phone call after reviewing the responses.
Challenge Studies/Micro Based Shelf Life Studies
These often require additional consultation with a Medallion Labs’ microbiologist to design and appropriately time the study as needed.
Special Preparation Requests
Medallion Labs typically tests a sample in the state that it arrives. For example, uncooked pasta is tested as uncooked pasta. If a customer wants us to test a sample in a different state, they need to provide detailed preparation instructions. For uncooked pasta, instructions would include how long to boil it and other steps such as adding milk, oil, butter, etc. When possible, we urge customers to provide samples in the state they want it tested. Medallion Labs will charge a fee, billed in 15 minutes increments, for sample preparation. Beyond this fee, customers may also experience an extended turnaround time.
Some Food Testing Requests Are Not Right For Medallion Labs
Each week Medallion Labs receives requests for product testing that we cannot support. While our testing offerings are extensive, there are limits to our laboratory’s capabilities.
Here are the most frequent requests that Medallion Labs does not support:
Medallion Labs supports the following test methods under functional foods. Tests not listed here are likely outside of our scope. Please contact us to be sure.
- Total polyphenols
- Phenolic acids
- Amino acids
- Fatty acids, including omega fatty acids
- Nutritional panel
While we currently support some supplement testing, it’s important to recognize we cannot support supplement labeling or specific supplement methodology.
Makeup and Cosmetics
Medallion Labs provides testing for food items only. Cosmetics do not fall under that category even if they are safe for human consumption.
Medallion Labs can handle beverages with low alcohol levels under ~1% ABV, such as kombucha. However, we do not calculate calories or carbohydrates for alcohol products.
Medallion Labs performs test methods that meet FDA and USDA labeling requirements for food intended for human consumption. We do not currently support the specific test methods to meet labeling requirements for the pet food industry. However, we can provide specialty testing such as rancidity, enzymes, and shelf life.
Understanding What Products Medallion Labs Can and Cannot Test
Medallion Labs strives to support our customer’s food testing needs as comprehensively as our lab and instruments allow. We meet your testing request with accurate, reliable results. When considering Medallion Labs for ingredient analysis and food testing, we suggest referring to our tech data sheets and online order form for the latest details. Our breadth of testing options helps you maximize your testing budget by providing the results you seek in a cost-efficient manner.
Medallion Labs is ready to use our testing options, expertise, and skills for your testing needs. Connect with us or call 1-800-245-5615 to discuss the criteria and testing needs for your food products.