Product testing is important to ensure the safety of your product. The Food and Drug Administration and the South Carolina Department of Agriculture require product testing for certain products that have a potential risk for growing bacteria that can make people sick.
The primary types of testing that are performed to ensure product safety include:
- pH (measure of acidity),
- water activity (a measure of water available to microorganisms)
- nutritional analyses (for nutrition label)
- gluten testing
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 USDA.
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.
Food products that have "gluten-free" claims on their label should have a gluten test done to ensure that the gluten levels in the product are below the gluten-free level of 20 parts per million.
Please note that our Product Testing Laboratory is closed during most of December and also for Spring and Fall Break, according to Clemson University's schedule.
If you have any questions about product testing please contact Adair Hoover at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When you are ready to submit your product for testing, mail a completed product testing form along with one sample from four different batches (4 samples total per product) and check made payable to “Clemson University” to:
c/o Dr. Julie Northcutt; Product Testing Laboratory
Department of Food, Nutrition and Packaging Science
223 Poole Agricultural Center
Clemson, SC 29634-0316
*Note: UPS and Post Office sometimes question this address. Please tell them to send the
package to the address above exactly as listed. It will get to the correct location by using this address.
*Packages must include Dr. Julie Northcutt’s name as listed above. If not included, we cannot ensure that samples will be tested in a timely manner. Products must be mailed to the address listed above. During the Covid shutdown, we had products mailed to another address; but this on-campus address should be used going forward.
FedEx is no longer delivering Express packages directly to our building. This decision was made by FedEx and is beyond the University's control. Any package that is sent requiring refrigeration, or containing dry ice or other perishable goods should be sent by way of an alternative shipper.
One check per order (rather than one check per product) is preferred.
** We now accept major national credit cards! You may indicate on your Product Testing Form (or your Sushi Rice Testing Form) that you would like to pay with a credit card. Our office will contact you via telephone during business hours for a credit card number. There is a 3% convenience fee for this service. **