The Food Laboratory’s mission is to provide expert state of the art analytical testing in support of food safety and security programs and consumer and agricultural interests in New York State.
The Food Lab serves the Divisions of Food Safety and Inspection, Plant Industry, and Milk Control and Dairy Services. The Food Lab’s primary function is to protect public health by analyzing food, beverage, animal feed/pet food, and fertilizer samples for health hazards, purity of product, and accuracy of labeling. Division stuff also provides support to the state Liquor Authority and the New York State Department of Health. Specialized analytical services are also provided on a contract basis to universities and state and Federal agencies within and outside of New York State.
The Food Lab is accredited to the ISO 17025 and AOAC ALAAC standards.
Setting up DNA extraction of food samples for foodborne pathogen rapid detection.
Extracting dye from a sample.
The original product is shown in the back row, and the extracted color/dye is in the front following extraction process.
Weighing spices for microwave digestion; the first step in toxic element testing.
Chili powder in a microwave vessel.
The Food Laboratory analyzes nearly 20,000 samples each year that the Department's Food Safety and Milk Control staff collect during their inspections. In 2018, these tests resulted in over 200 recalls and more than 2,208 seizures of adulterated or misbranded food to protect the public.
In addition, as part of Governor Cuomo's State of the State initiative, the Food Laboratory, along with the Division of Food Safety and Inspection, was also key in the creation of a Center of Excellence on Food Research, in cooperation with the New York State Department of Health, to determine health-based limits of contaminants, such as heavy metals in spices.
Learn more about the Food Laboratory's work by viewing the 2018 annual report, below.