Thursday, 23 March 2017

Controlled or Retained Sample Procedure for Food Industry


Today I will be discussing on need for keeping controlled or retained samples of products or raw materials in a food product testing lab. Generally food industry who is having in-house labs have a practice of keeping some sort of controlled or retained sample of products but industries which does not have in house testing lab does not follow the practice retained sample.

What is Retained Sample/Controlled Sample

food product Quality lab sample க்கான பட முடிவு

Food products are released to consumers after quality testings done on them by in-house lab or external lab except for restaurant foods. Even restaurants send their food samples to external lab in a periodic basis to get it tested for desired quality. After testing and releasing the product certain quantity of sample is stored upto the shelf life of the product or until the product is used by consumer which is called a retained sample/controlled sample. The quantity of controlled sample should be equal to the quantity of sample required to do reanalysis of all quality parameters on the sample stored. This testing includes FSSAI or Regulatory testing parameters also. These retained samples are stored upto the expiry of the product in the same storage conditions as recommended for the storage of product.

Need to keep Retained Samples

Retained samples help with the following

  1. When there is a regulatory audit or visit at the site and the regulatory authorities want to confirm regulatory test parameters on some product batches which are already in market then retain sample of those batches kept in the lab helps
  2. When there is a customer complaint. When the customer is complaining on any defect on the product sold to them, then the quality of the product sold can be compared with the quality of same retained in the lab. Based on these comparison we can conclude if the product failed by default or failed due to wrong handling of customer. 
  3. Shelf life study can be done with retained sample by testing them upto their expiry periodically. 
Generally retained samples of finished products are very essential to be stored for the reasons mentioned above. Also it is important to store retained samples of raw material to do root cause analysis on raw material when found any problem with the finished product after production or from customer end. 

Contact me for any further discussion on this topic.