Laboratory challenges with new method implementation

It’s not always plain sailing when new and improved methods come knocking. In this article, colleagues at Nestlé Quality Assurance Center (NQAC) Dublin, Ohio share their experience of responding to industry’s evolving analytical needs.

Threats to food safety and regulatory compliance are constantly evolving, and the methods for detecting those threats must be adjusted accordingly to ensure fit-for-purpose analytical methods. However, new method implementation requires the collaboration of multiple stakeholders to succeed, creating various challenges.

Drivers of new method implementation

New issues may arise from a customer concern that has resulted from a manufacturing change, pending legislation, a novel food safety concern identified by R&D or academia or new emerging analytical technologies. Given the multiple factors that drive new analytical requirements, this necessitates an ever-evolving review of resource management and technical assessment.

Considerations for new method implementation

The decision to implement a new method depends on the following: consumer demand, expected sample volumes, cost to run the method, the extent of validation and/or verification work, food safety critically of the new hazard. new technical skills required and cost of method implementation.

Verification versus validation?

As a laboratory identifies a new analytical need, their first investigation will usually be to determine if a recognised method (ISO, AOAC, USP, etc) exists to meet that need. If the method exists and the laboratory has the equipment and expertise to perform it, they can fast-track this effort through verification of the method.