The Food Safety Microbiology lab at SDSU's ADRDL plays a critical role in helping food producers maintain the safety of their products.
The ADRDL's Food Safety Microbiology Laboratory (FSM) recently received official notice of their certification as an ISO 17025 certified laboratory. ISO 17025 certification is the main standard used by testing and calibration laboratories worldwide, and includes certification of the competence of the lab's management, staff, equipment, and methods.
The certification is the culmination of an extensive review process undertaken by FSM and ADRDL personnel, with assistance from the A2LA accreditation body.
The ISO 17025:2017 standard describes the strict requirements for a laboratory’s technical and quality management system. Constant improvement is a focus of the ISO 17025, with emphasis placed on providing staff with systems that allow for determination of technically valid results. Some of the factors that distinguish this standard from others are: complete traceability of all critical reagents and processes; risk-based assessment of laboratory uncertainty; inclusion of a specific scope of services; and biennial audits.
The current scope of the methods certified under ISO 17025:2017 includes culture, screening and confirmation of food samples for Salmonella spp. The FSM lab anticipates adding most of their other methods in the next few accreditation cycles.
The lab provides food safety microbiology testing for state and federal regulatory bodies. Through its memberships in the USDA's Food Emergency Response Network and the FDA's National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System, testing is conducted on on federally inspected products. These entities have been asking their member labs to achieve certifications such as the ISO 17025 standard, in order to ensure that results are actionable and traceable. In the past, member labs, including those at veterinary diagnostic, public health, agriculture, and university locations, have had varying levels of different accreditation and certifications. By asking food laboratories to standardize, these agencies have increased confidence in each lab's records and results.