LIMS for a Food Safety Application

MarketsandMarkets research predicts that the global food safety testing market will grow to upwards of $24 billion by 2023 from USD $17 billion in 2018, which is a CAGR of 7.7 %.

There are a number of factors driving this focus on food safety testing, these include:

  • A growing rate of incidents of contamination in food processing facilities
  • Higher demand for packaged food and convenience products
  • Growing consumer focus on food safety

As the food safety testing marking continues to grow, there are even more challenges to combat. Therefore, Laboratory Information Management Systems are becoming more crucial.

The food and beverage industry faces challenges in lab testing over a number of disciplines, these include:

  • Microbiology
  • Chemistry
  • Site auditing
  • Label testing
  • Shelf-life testing

The majority of food manufacturers outsource at least a few, and often all, of these tasks to third-party labs. Outsourced lab testing is an option which is frequently chosen within the food processing industry for multiple reasons.

These include the issues of staff shortages, unexpected variations in testing volumes, the hefty costs of lab infrastructure and a labor force, and the requirement for specific (and continually changing) expertize and regulatory proficiency, and the need to meet industry accreditations (e.g., ANSI, ISO 17025, FDA, USDA, AOAC).

Food and beverage producers may often perform specific, high-frequency tests in-house in order to meet these challenges, while outsourcing most others to contract labs. This offloading of sample testing even happens in larger companies with in-house labs.

Food Safety Net Services (FSNS) is a prominent national network of accredited testing labs which supply a wide range of chemistry and microbiological testing services to the food processing and nutraceutical industries.

Legacy LIMS challenges

Heavily-modified legacy LIMS struggle to meet the technologies, demands, and workflows of modern labs. They frequently have problems with upgrading, and provide no browser-based or thin client solutions, which are the most appropriate choices for multi-lab LIMS utilization. FSNS was no exception to this pattern.

For FSNS, the platform was also unable to keep up with features. The system could not provide more modern LIMS capabilities, and could not be further retrofitted to enable the organization’s evolution.

These challenges are more common than most may realize. Organizations get bigger, goals are changed and LIMS capabilities further develop. Interfaces are enhanced, regulatory guidance and workflows are restructured and cross-platform data integrations become ever more manageable.

As LIMS platforms have increased their capabilities, the requirement for easy to use, intuitive interfaces for growing user bases has increased. A number of customer-supporting organizations have a need for solutions that are compatible with recurrent customer audits, including FSNS.

An additional key benchmark for many testing labs is the ability to link advanced lab instruments to a LIMS for automatic data capture, in order to remove the requirement for manpower and minimize the risk of human errors which can happen with manual data entry.

The growing role of LIMS interfacing

FSNS had a need for a dynamic, contemporary, adaptable and entirely browser-based LIMS, which could support common food testing sample types; as is the case with many contract testing lab organizations.

They acknowledged some essential criteria as part of their search for a novel solution:

  1. Rock-solid Infrastructure
    A crucial requirement of the LIMS was to supply better system performance and provide scalability to align with the developing demands of the business. It was also necessary that the system provided both multifaceted bi-directional interfaces with computer-driven instrumentation and simple lab equipment connectivity (e.g. digital scales).
  2. Strong Internal UX and Functionality
    Another requirement which was essential was a shared browser-based interface for all users across the whole organization. The system also needed to be compatible with other systems, including customer systems, Great Plains Accounting Software, and SharePoint.
  3. World Class CX
    A final non-negotiable factor was the requirement for the customer experience-driven portal to supply world-class service and provide their customers with real-time access to data.

FSNS system implementation

LabVantage was the best choice for LIMS enterprise deployment for FSNS. It not only met their essential criteria, but provided the best value in terms of:

  • Up-front costs
  • System flexibility
  • LIMS responsiveness
  • Overall ability to manage complicated and developing business requirements
  • Continuing system upkeep costs

LabVantage’s FSNS installation provided a browser-based user interface, in addition to adaptable sample types to eradicate test assignment errors and permit quicker operation.

A superior, faster, simpler and more adaptable LIMS

What can a LabVantage LIMS implementation provide for a national lab network? FSNS enjoyed exceptional results with their new LIMS:

  • Improved user satisfaction – Page refresh is around 50 % quicker than with the legacy system.
  • Greater productivity and efficiency – The LIMS standardized custom sample types over multiple locations, making login data processing 15 % faster. It also provided the ability to enter multiple items of sample data on the same screens, decreasing data entry time by nearly 15 %.
  • Better compliance and traceability – The LIMS supplied the required audit trails for full traceability and audit purposes.
  • Greater system performance – The system enables access to over 50 simultaneous FSNS users with no drop in performance levels.

If your food safety lab has difficulties with connectivity, productivity, or workflow, find out more about FSNS’s experience with LabVantage in this case study.

It may also be helpful to look at LabVantage Food & Beverage. Food & Beverage is a tailor-made solution, built to enable inclusive, end-to-end management of ingredients, intermediate and finished product quality to make certain of compliance with GxP, HACCP, and FDA requirements.

LabVantage Food & Beverage adheres to the quality and regulatory needs of food and beverage organizations by supplying data traceability, accessibility, reporting, and other vital capabilities.

About LabVantage Solutions

LabVantage Solutions, Inc. is the leading global laboratory informatics provider. Our industry-leading LIMS and ELN solution and world-class services are the result of 35+ years of experience in laboratory informatics. LabVantage offers a comprehensive portfolio of products and services that enable companies to innovate faster in the R&D cycle, improve manufactured product quality, achieve accurate recordkeeping and comply with regulatory requirements.

LabVantage is a highly configurable, web-based LIMS/ELN that powers hundreds of laboratories globally, large and small. Built on a platform that is widely recognized as the best in the industry, LabVantage can support hundreds of concurrent users as well as interface with instruments and other enterprise systems. It is the best choice for industries ranging from pharmaceuticals and consumer goods to molecular diagnostics and bio banking. LabVantage domain experts advise customers on best practices and maximize their ROIs by optimizing LIMS implementation with a rapid and successful deployment.

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Last updated: Apr 5, 2023 at 8:02 AM


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