More People = More Food = More Risk
Every year, the food processing and distribution industries grow. This is naturally tied to the ever-increasing population of the world and its expanding food production and distribution needs. While each country has its own respective food distribution challenges, the United States sees an annual population growth percentage of between 0.7% and 0.9% — anywhere from two to three million people. As you’ll learn, this underscores the importance of working with a full service laboratory.
As farms, food processors, food distributors, and stores work to meet the increasing demand for food and other items, the risk of foodborne pathogens, bacteria, and other harmful contaminants entering the food supply increases alongside it. Marry this with the fact that food safety regulation is increasing, food safety oversight is at all levels is growing, and consumer awareness is and will become even more heightened to potential food safety risks with the fact that every year, around two million people fall victim to these contaminants — resulting in illnesses and sometimes even death.
With global food production impacting billions of people (and around 330 million people in the U.S.), the pressure for organizations involved in the production and distribution of food is mounting. Depending on the food being produced, a variety of tests must be performed and potentially more should be performed — creating administrative burdens for many of these companies despite the importance of testing. And due to sample spoilage risks, time is of the essence. Yet many of the required tests either can’t be performed by their internal labs or can’t be performed by their internal labs in a timely manner.
Worse still, not every food testing lab is a full-service laboratory. This is an important distinction that food processors and distributors should look for in a partner, as a full-service laboratory eliminates many of these testing challenges and time constraints. Let’s explore a few reasons why working with such a lab testing partner should be on your radar for 2020 and beyond.
Why Partner with a Full-Service Laboratory
1. A Single Point of Contact — Always
When you have samples that need to be tested (on a time limit), the last thing your team needs to deal with is handling multiple points of contact between different labs that are responsible for different tests. Information might be missed or omitted, the chance for human error increases, and the risk that samples might spoil increases as well — especially if samples are being subjected to multiple tests or are being forwarded on to other facilities.
The Barrow-Agee Difference: We understand that your organization may be required to perform a number of different tests in order to get your product to market. Whether our full-service laboratory can do all testing in house, or if we need to partner with another lab to complete your testing needs, you will only ever hear from one lab: ours. This centralizes all communication, testing results, and other important data through a single point of contact.
2. In-House Post-Testing Services
We all know that Nutritional Fact Panels (NFPs) are a requirement. They inform consumers about the contents of your products and protect them from consuming foods that contain certain allergens or other compositional elements to which they might be sensitive. But when demand is high and you’re in a time crunch, and you’ve sent samples off for testing, it can quickly become difficult to manage the creation of accurate NFPs on your own.
The Barrow-Agee Difference: We recognize that many samples submitted need testing completed urgently. To help support your nutritional labeling needs and help you get your products to market faster, we offer nutritional labeling as part of our full-service laboratory capabilities. When your testing is finished, we’ll provide you with an NFP that you can quickly integrate into your product packaging — thereby expediting your speed to market.
3. Fewer Details to Manage
You may have multiple testing partners that you’ve worked with historically. Depending on your testing needs, these labs may have been located in different parts of the country — as well as different time zones. While this is a granular example, it still matters. No test is non-urgent. Getting the results in a timely fashion ensures you’re able to meet your demand obligations and keep moving forward. But if you have to manage multiple testing relationships from labs in different parts of the country, it may often come down to the last minute in some instances.
The Barrow-Agee Difference: By using a full-service laboratory, the focus of all of your testing needs are centralized through a single partner. This dramatically simplifies the process, ensures you know what to expect regarding communication, reduces costs with shipping samples to multiple facilities, and more. It also eliminates the confusion with “multi-facility” full-service laboratories. While some organizations may offer all the tests you need, they may still have to send samples to their sister facilities — putting those samples at risk and delaying the results.
4. Centralized Billing and Reporting
Imagine sending out samples to a few laboratories for different types of tests. They complete the tests and send you the results back. Each report looks different, yet it’s all for a single product. Your team now has to process separate reports — which may or may not be electronic and easily navigable — in order to know whether your product has passed testing and achieved the specific results needed to move the product forward in the process. And to make it better, you receive separate invoices at different times, each prepared differently.
The Barrow-Agee Difference: When you work with our full-service laboratory for your testing needs, our goal is not only to provide you with accurate results on time, every time, but it’s also to make your life easier. Testing is just one of the many responsibilities on your plate. We want to make it as seamless and efficient as possible. In addition to our 3–to 5-day turn-times, you receive a single point of contact for all of your testing needs as well as a single online reporting source to view and download your results.
Ready for a New Full Service Laboratory?
With more than 150,000 tests completed per year, Barrow-Agee Laboratories is a full-service laboratory that you can rely on for all of your testing needs. From microbiology and organic chemistry testing to support for animal feeds and pesticides, our expert team is ready to provide you with the results you need as quickly as possible while providing a delightful — and easy — experience along the way.