The three primary types of testing that is performed to ensure product safety include: pH (measure of acidity), water activity (measure of water available to microorganisms) and nutritional analyses (for nutrition label). Food products that are prepared to be shelf stable require pH testing.
If the food product has high sugar content then a water activity test may also be required. These tests are also used to determine if a food product is classified as either an acid, acidified or low acid food. Products that are classified as acidified and low acid require the processor to have a Better Process Control School certificate and registration of their facility and process with the Food and Drug Administration. This is a requirement of the FDA and must be done before registering the product with SCDA.
All food product testing results are written into a process control letter, which is required documentation to show proof of testing with the South Carolina Department of Agriculture. Nutritional analysis can also be performed on your product if you wish to have a nutrition facts panel on your label, however, this is not a requirement unless you are producing over 100,000 units per year or have over 100 employees.
Some baked goods and other food products may require testing (pH and/or water activity) to determine if the product is a potentially hazardous food. Foods that are classified as potentially hazardous foods require refrigeration.
If you have any additional questions about food product testing please contact Kimberly Baker the Food Safety Associate for Clemson Extension’s Food2Market program at firstname.lastname@example.org.