The proficiency testing program at the Institute for Food Safety and Health produces proficiency testing (PT) samples for both FDA and USDA food safety programs. The center also manages the food chemistry and microbiology proficiency testing programs for the Food Emergency Response Network (FERN). Laboratory performance is tested by challenging analysts with simulated samples to test within their normal operating conditions in order to produce an interlaboratory comparison.
The Food Emergency Response Network was formed to successfully unite federal, state and local laboratories in the detection, response and recovery from national food emergencies, including bioterrorism. This work benefits our nation by testing the analytical and response capabilities of the FERN laboratories so that they are prepared to respond effectively in the case of an actual food emergency.
IFSH's Assets and Capabilities
- Inoculate virtually any food product including powders, water and fresh produce samples.
- Target any level of inoculation, including extremely low levels, in order to test the limits of detection for specific methods.
- Tailor PT samples to meet the different parameters of testing procedures, including cultural, immunoassay and molecular methods.
IFSH expects to make proficiency testing services available to food industry members in the future. As the PT program expands, the laboratory will enter the process of ISO 17043 certification and expects to offer additional analytical capabilities, such as freeze dried proficiency testing samples.