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Food labs can either be a primary lab or a referral lab for a single sample
Saturday, 04 September, 2021, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Ashwani Maindola, New Delhi
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has clarified that referral laboratory cannot test a ‘sample’ of the food product in question, if it has done testing of the same sample as a primary laboratory. The lab can only perform one function of a primary laboratory or referral lab, for a single sample.

There are many food laboratories notified by the FSSAI that perform dual
roles of primary as well as referral laboratory. Presently there are 19
referral labs notified by the FSSAI. The role of referral lab comes after
the FBO files an appeal against the testing results of a ‘sample’ by the
primary food testing lab.

In an advisory, the FSSAI has stated that the appeal against the primary
testing results, cannot be entertained by the same laboratory and the
sample should be sent to another referral laboratory against an appeal.

The advisory reads, “It is clarified that a laboratory can either perform
the function of a primary laboratory or a referral laboratory for a single
sample i.e., if a laboratory has tested a sample as a primary laboratory
then the appeal against the test results of that particular sample will not
be entertained by the same laboratory, irrespective of the fact that the
same laboratory is playing the role of a referral laboratory as well.”

The advisory added that the same sample will invariably be sent to another referral laboratory as per the testing capability and scope of that
referral laboratory.

FSSAI has also asked the state food authorities to keep this advisory in
view to avoid any confusion or anomalies in testing results.
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