Food Testing

About Our Lab in Germany

NSF International’s laboratory in Rheda-Wiedenbrück, Germany was founded in 1997 as the Institut Dr. Erdmann. Over the next few years the laboratory continued to develop, establishing a variety of departments, adding employees and building its customer base. In 2014, based on its range of accredited services, the institute was acquired by NSF International, a global public health and safety organization. Since then, Erdmann has been rebranded and fully integrated into NSF International, and continues to develop and add services.

Our in-house analysis capabilities include sampling services for businesses across Germany, Benelux, Denmark, Austria, Poland, Italy and Spain. We comply with the all applicable regulations to ensure an accurate analysis, for example transporting samples in specially-equipped refrigerated vehicles to maintain the cold chain.

Our diverse team includes certified food chemists, food technologists, biotechnicians, ecotrophologists, molecular biologists, bioscientists and veterinarians. We provide all services based on the latest scientific insights, guidelines and standards.

Our services cover a broad range of products:

  • Food products:
    • Meat and meat-based products
    • Poultry
    • Fish, seafood and aquaculture products
    • Dairy
    • Additional animal origin products
    • Fruit and vegetables
    • Vegetarian, vegan and meat replacement products
    • Baked goods and grain products
    • Fats and oils
    • Delicatessen products
    • Convenience foods
    • Frozen foods
    • Herbs and spices
  • Drinking water
  • Dietary supplements
  • Animal feed
  • Packaging
  • Disinfectants and biocides
  • Raw materials for the pharmaceutical industry

We also offer a wide variety of analyses using accredited examination methods in the areas of chemistry, histology, instrumental analytics, microbiology, molecular biology and sensory testing. Based on your needs, we analyze food and animal feed products to determine their nutritional values and the state of their cell and tissue structure, as well as identifying residues, contamination and pathogenic germs.

We can provide a comprehensive consultation to determine which analysis method is best suited for your needs to help you improve your operations.

Our Analytic Services

Chemistry:

In our wet chemistry department, we analyze the composition of a wide array of products, from raw materials to convenience foods and animal feed. Most analyses are automized using state-of-the-art laboratory equipment, photometry and chromatography principles, and chemical-physical and enzymatic examination methods.

  • Complete analysis of meat-based products
  • Nutrient analysis (Big 7 & Big 8)
  • Chemical-physical fundamental analysis (water, fat, protein and ash content; determination of the aw value)
  • Determination of additives
  • Determination of the crude oil, fiber, ash and raw protein content in animal feed

Histology:

A histological analysis offers a clear overview of food items and complements sensory, chemical, serological and molecular-biological analyses when examining the composition of a product. Certain issues can currently only be identified through the use of histological methods.

We follow validated, accredited test procedures, including the detection method contained in § 64 LFGB, method L 06.00-13 for the determination of tissue composition of food products.

We offer the following detection and test procedures:

  • Physiological structure in meats and meat-based products: muscle, fat and connective tissue, rind, cartilage and bone
  • Traces of spices, offal or dairy
  • Structural changes of tissue caused by the production process: mobilized muscle protein in assorted characteristics
  • Rework of meat-based products
  • Starch and thickening agents
  • Foreign animal and vegetable proteins

Instrumental Analysis:

Instrumental analytics offers many accredited examination methods. We identify the ingredients of your product and detect contaminants from cultivation or production processes, as well as residues of pesticides or antibiotics, in our QS-recognized residue lab.

We can analyze the fatty acid spectrum of food, identify the presence of trace elements and heavy metals, detect harmful substances such as mycotoxins or pesticides, and determine sugar, sweetener and caffeine content.

Our residue and contamination services include:

  • MOSH / MOAH
  • Elements / heavy metals
  • Mycotoxins
  • Pesticides (multi, individual, group and special methods)
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
  • Veterinary medications and antibiotics
  • Plasticiziser and softning agents
  • Foreign matter
  • Nitrates
  • Coumarin

Ingredient identification includes:

  • Fatty acid spectrum
  • Trans-fatty acids
  • Sugar components (fructose, glucose, maltose, sucrose)
  • Sweeteners
  • Preservatives
  • Caffeine

We also support our customers in accessing the suitability of current or new packaging options. We determine overall and specific migration limits, as well as specific substance migration elements based on the food matrix and process and storage conditions in line with the inspection requirements of the plastic materials regulation (VO (EU) Nr. 10/2011). In addition to chemical tests, we offer a microbiological examination of packaging, as well as assessments of the materials using IR-spectroscopy.

Microbiology:

Sound reports identifying potential spoilage agents and pathogenic germs are critical for the quality control process. Our microbiological department applies traditional methods, using cultures, to identify and quantify the microbiological flora of a product.

We offer comprehensive microbiological testing services including microbial counts and qualitative and quantitative analyses such as inhibitor tests, shelf-life studies and the examination for antibiotic-resistant germs. We test for the plate count for different germs (including antibiotic-resistant germs like MRSA) as well as for the presence of specific germs. We can store samples for a given time under specified temperatures (storage/shelf-life test) and also can challenge test incubating samples with germs in order to check their ability to grow under specific conditions.

  • Microbial count
  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Biocides / disinfectants
  • Shelf-life studies / storage tests
  • Screening for antibiotic residues
  • Identification of various germs using Malditof technology
  • Challenge tests to assess the potential growth of specific microorganisms

Molecular Biology:

Our molecular-biology department conducts sampling tests, primarily on items of animal origin, using rapid pathogen analysis. We can detect pathogens like Salmonella, Listeria and EHEC/STEC within 24 hours. For raw meat products, we offer rapid analysis for Salmonella within 12 hours.

Using our specialist analysis, we can identify allergens and genetically modified organisms, as well as CNS risk materials, in meat and sausage products.

Through PCR method development, we can also establish new and customized examination methods at a molecular level.

  • Rapid detection of pathogenic germs
  • Virus detection
  • Allergen verification
  • Species identification
  • Gender determination for beef and pork
  • Risk material detection
  • Genetically modified organism (GMO) detection
  • Residue detection

Sensory Testing:

The sensory experience of a product plays an important role in its overall judgment of quality. The majority of our sensory assessors are certified by the German Agricultural Society (DLG) in a variety of areas, and have up-to-date knowledge and expertise achieved through regular trainings and seminars. Our experts are regularly invited to the DLG’s international quality tests.

In sensory testing, we use standard methods to test and evaluate the quality of your product based on the following parameters:

  • Texture/consistency
  • Appearance (shape and color)
  • Aroma
  • Taste

Sensory testing is particularly important for quality control because it uses human senses and is therefore equivalent to an end user testing the product. Positively meeting the test parameters above significantly influences the consumer’s decision to buy.

In addition, sensory status is also referenced in evaluating microbiological findings. If a German Society for Hygiene and Microbiology (DGHM) guideline value is exceeded, for which no limit value is listed, the sensory status should definitely be taken into account in the evaluation.

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