There is no doubt the food industry is going through a revolutionary change especially since nutraceuticals and functional foods have entered the market in a big way. Manufacturing advancement of these foods which includes unique extraction processes and bioavailability through nanotechnology and innovative packaging have added to their allure for consumers. Food testing laboratories play a key role in the creation and manufacture of these unique products.
Ingredient and label claims
Food testing laboratories analyse the ingredients in these products and maintain a data. Without partnering with food labs it would be difficult to make label claims especially for health supplements. Food labs also play a role in shelf life studies as most of these foods have just come into the market in recent years and there is no known data about their shelf life. Testing food additives used in nutraceuticals and ensuring the foods are free of toxins and food pathogens to remove negative effects on consumers are also undertaken by food testing laboratories.
Verification of claims
In this age of social media many a time messages and advertisements appear in the media about the potential benefits of nutraceuticals in the treatment or prevention of certain diseases. These questionable health claims can confuse the consumers and some of them tend to think that all health claims made by nutraceutical manufacturers are false. However, if the foods have been tested by NABL accredited food testing labs and clinical trials conducted in a scientific manner then the health claims on labels will be authentic and food testing verifies the claims.
Recognised and accredited food testing laboratories provide services that ensure that the nutraceutical products and functional foods are
- Compliant with Food Safety and Standards Act, Rules and Regulations for food and food products
- Healthy and safe so as to protect the brand equity and build consumer loyalty
- Not contaminated, modified or unhealthy so consumers are protected
- Stored , shipped, packed and distributed keeping in mind shelf life of the products
- Free of any kind of adulteration
Other food testing requirements
Reputed food testing laboratories follow scientific protocol for food testing and maintain high standards of accuracy and reliability along with professionalism. Food testing labs also test raw materials and ingredients for adulteration and final product testing to rule out the use of artificial colouring agents, texture altering agents, additives and preservatives in nutraceuticals. Through chemical testing, food labs ensure that the natural foods are not contaminated with fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, as also chemical contaminants like heavy metals. Microbial testing is done for specific types of bacteria and pathogens to rule out the chance of foodborne illnesses. Testing for my cotoxins is a big concern in raw materials for nutraceuticals as these are naturally occurring toxins. Testing for my cotoxins is a critical control point so as to keep my cotoxins out of the final products. Food testing laboratories verify that the raw materials are free of all kinds of my cotoxins.