Guidance for Food Business Operators: Getting the Best from Third Party Laboratories

This new CFA Guidance produced in collaboration with Food Standards Scotland, aims to raise awareness of the need to use analytical laboratories with the right expertise, accreditations, using appropriate methods and facilitate development of partnerships between such third-party laboratories and their customers in the food industry, moving away from purely transactional arrangements.

Greater transparency is needed from both FBOs and laboratories to achieve this, with greater understanding of each other’s needs and impacts on business and working to agreed Key Performance/Continuous Improvement Indicators regarding resilience, reliability, relevance and sustainability of analytical services, all of which are covered.

The focus of this first edition is on microbiological analytical services provided by a third party to a FBO.

The Guidance is a free download and includes:

  • Checklist
  • Fitness for Purpose – Laboratories and Methods
  • Provision of Samples to Laboratories
  • Reporting Results
  • Complaints Procedure
  • Selecting a laboratory through tender
  • Special measures for laboratories
  • ContractsAppendices
    1. Terminology
    2. Microbiology
    2.1 Legally Recognised Methods
    2.2 What other Microbiological Tests are Relevant for Various Food Materials

    1: Industrywide Continuous Improvement Indicators for Laboratories
    2: Findings, Laboratory Action and Communication of Results
    3: Microbiological Methods – Specified by EU Regulation 2073/2005
    4: Typical Expected Turnaround of Microbiological Tests if Compliant with Standard Methods