Time, cost-saving advice for commercial microbiology labs

Since the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act, food manufacturers have drastically increased the amount of testing they do to comply with the more stringent rules and regulations. It’s no surprise that manufacturers have increased testing, since it’s one way to keep consumers safe from unintended allergen and foodborne pathogen contamination.

What often goes unnoticed, however, are the unsung heroes who help ease the burden for manufacturers: commercial testing labs.

“When a company just doesn’t have the capability or expertise to perform its own testing, commercial labs handle testing for them,” said Neogen’s Andrew Ciavattone.  “A company just has to box up a frozen sample, ship it out overnight, and the lab can start processing it the very next morning.”

This seems easy enough, but one of the bigger challenges a lab has today is to prepare and analyze a large influx of samples in a timely manner — all while keeping its own costs at a minimum.

How can a lab keep up with demands while reducing costs?

One solution is to invest in equipment that can automate or streamline its processes, like high throughput microbiology or pathogen detection systems.

“Anyone can load large sample batches into these machines so the results can be digitally analyzed, reducing hands-on work,” said Ciavattone. “No more counting bacterial colonies on plates!”

A lab can also invest in convenience media solutions that save time and labor costs in media preparation. These include ready-to-use, pre-weighed packets of media that can be hydrated in sterile water, meaning there’s no need to autoclave.

These types of products cut out several steps from traditional processes, making life easier for a lab that strives to, in turn, make life easier for its customers.

Neogen is a major provider of convenience packaging for dehydrated culture media, including Acumedia® EZ Prep and µPrep™.

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