Accreditation in Food Safety: A2LA & Microbac Laboratories

Accreditation bodies and food testing laboratories share an important responsibility: both are part of a complex process that ensures the widespread availability of safe, accurately labeled, and contaminant-free food products. Over 40+ years of operation, A2LA has provided accreditation services to hundreds of food testing laboratories and has built enduring professional relationships with many of them. In honor of World Accreditation Day’s 2020 theme, “Accreditation: Improving Food Safety” we collaborated with Microbac Laboratories to highlight their crucial role in the global quality infrastructure and to examine how both Microbac and A2LA contribute to food safety. 

Microbac was founded in 1969 as a small dairy testing laboratory in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In the decades since, they have grown into a diverse network of laboratories across the United States, serving clients in the environmental, life sciences, and food industries. Although they have diversified to provide testing services for many fields that are crucial to human health and safety, their food and nutrition testing capabilities remain a central part of their corporate identity. Microbac’s expertise helps to ensure that food labels are accurate and complete, that food products are subject to rigorous microbiological testing, and that food production facilities are sanitary.  

Microbac’s focus on quality and commitment to their customers’ needs motivated them to initially pursue accreditation in 1986. Achieving accreditation by an impartial third party allowed them to meet more stringent customer requirements, support industry regulations, and demonstrate their competency and consistency to stakeholders. In the words of Ashley Malchow, Microbac’s Corporate Director of Quality, “Microbac Laboratories knows that the pursuit of safe and quality food is essential to the vast food industry segments and companies we support. Accreditation is the most important way to demonstrate the technical proficiency and dependability to produce accurate and timely results that our customers depend on for their products.” 

Microbac’s Boulder, Colorado laboratory was first accredited by A2LA in 1988 and that facility holds the second-oldest active scope (certificate number 18) in A2LA’s history. Today, Microbac laboratories across the U.S. collectively hold sixteen active scopes through A2LA in the chemical, biological, and environmental fields of testing. Microbac initially chose A2LA as their preferred accreditation body because of our positive national and international reputation. Through many years of firsthand experience, they have remained confident in our expertise, attentiveness, and commitment to customer service. Several years after they were initially accredited to ISO/IEC 17025, the CEO and Owner of Microbac Laboratories, Trevor Boyce, was invited to join A2LA’s volunteer Board of Directors, and he later served a term as Chairman of the Board. 

A2LA’s objective as an organization goes beyond simply providing accreditation services. We believe that by advocating for accreditation and helping both our customers and the public understand the role accreditation plays in everyday life, we can help improve and expand the global quality infrastructure. The relationship between A2LA and Microbac Laboratories is an excellent example of how we both support and are supported by our customers as we jointly work to improve the safety, consistency, and accessibility of consumer products. Ms. Malchow went on to say: “Accreditation benefits industry at large by driving the regular evaluations that ensure laboratories can consistently oversee and produce valid results. Proper oversight in food testing is essential to the safety of the food supply which impacts public health. Valid results are critical to food safety customers in order to release products and ingredients in a timely manner, allow for timely corrective actions if needed and avoid expensive retesting, destruction of product or recalls.” 

A2LA and Microbac each play just one part in a complex and incredibly important global system that makes the modern life we all enjoy possible. World Accreditation Day is a unique opportunity to highlight these contributions, and to help more people understand why accreditation matters. For more helpful resources on accreditation in food safety, visit the WAD 2020 web page. To learn more about Microbac Laboratories and the services they provide, visit microbac.com, and for more about A2LA accreditation, visit A2LA.org or call 301-644-3248.

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