The Food and Dairy (FD) Laboratory section analyzes samples of food and dairy products to determine product quality and ensure public safety. Test results support the regulatory duties of NDA Food Safety and Consumer Protection and are entered into a national food safety data repository.
Since the events of September 11, 2001, the NDA Laboratory has been a member of the Food Emergency Response Network (FERN), created in 2006 by President George Bush. FERN is a national network of federal, state, and local food testing laboratories that maintain testing capacity and capability for Homeland Security readiness. The Food testing area has maintained the testing capabilities required by FERN. This testing includes testing for chemical contaminants and adulterants such as poisons, toxins, pesticides, and heavy metals (i.e., lead, arsenic, mercury, cadmium, chromium, thallium, and others).
The Food testing area also receives food samples from NDA Food Sanitarians to perform routine testing for major foodborne pathogens in support of the FDA Manufactured Foods Regulatory Program Standards (MFRPS), one arm of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The NDA Laboratory is tasked with analyzing foods associated with foodborne illness when they occur in the State of Nebraska. This work is performed in collaboration with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and local health departments. When NDA identifies a human health hazard in foods, FDA or USDA can use NDA test results to remove harmful food products from the marketplace. The Food testing area also analyzes Nebraska milk samples each year for the presence of pesticide residues in support of the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance and the Nebraska Milk Act. From time to time, the FD Laboratory works with the State Patrol and local law enforcement to test samples involved in criminal cases. Accreditation to ISO 17025 has streamlined the ability to produce and share defensible data across agencies.
The State Central Dairy Laboratory is accredited by FDA/LPET every three years and participates in the FDA proficiency testing twice a year. The dairy program Grade A Producer samples are collected by our State Dairy Inspectors five out of six months and examined for Aerobic Bacterial Count, Somatic Cell count and Drug Residue. Grade A Pasteurized Milk Products manufactured in our state our collected by our State Dairy Inspectors from the manufacturing plant five out of six months and examined for Aerobic Bacteria Count, Coliforms, Drug Residue and Alkaline Phosphatase. The program follows the guidelines of the Grade “A” Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO), NCIMS/FDA 2400 Forms and the Nebraska Milk Act.
The State Laboratory Evaluation Officer (LEO) who is accredited by FDA/LPET every three years, approves milk facilities every two years throughout the state to perform tests required by the Appendix N regulatory program. The program follows the Evaluation of Milk Laboratories and the Grade “A” Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO).
FD Laboratory also performs duties of the NDA Soil Survey Officer. Registered soil and plant testing laboratories across Nebraska are inspected once every two years according to the Nebraska Soil and Plant Analysis Laboratory Act.