Foreign Contaminant Identification

One specialty of the Agriculture & Food Laboratory, at the University of Guelph includes identification of a wide variety of food and production contaminants to quickly resolve customer complaints, quality defects, and potential litigation. In addition, we can produce high-magnification images of your products to assist in problem solving and product development.

For third party investigation, we offer unbiased scientific expertise and aid in identifying the time and source of the contamination. Our team can even help assure you that some concerns are due to natural causes, thereby avoiding costly product recalls. Whether your concern is for safety of raw ingredients, or finished goods, contact us, we are here to help. Please note this service is only available to businesses.

We can save you time and money by quickly identifying contaminants found in processing material or during production, enabling you to solve the problem and get back to operation. As part of The University of Guelph, we have access to experts on campus to help identify difficult specimens. We can compare a known compound to an unknown one, to help trace the source of contamination. In many cases the testing is non-destructive and extremely small samples can be analyzed. We can also offer same-day emergency testing.

Common contaminants identified in our lab

Metal Fragments Elemental identification (iron, lead etc.) identified by scanning electron microscopy and x-ray microanalysis.
Polymers/Plastics All different types such as polypropylene, nylon, PET, etc.
Glass Elemental composition and refractive index is specific to various types of glass, e.g. lead crystal, window glass, etc.
Plant/Animal Tissue Plant and animal pathologists are available to assist with identification.
Blood Determination of human versus non-human.
Food Ingredients Crystal aggregates, precipitates, etc.
Fungi Morphological identification can be provided; samples may be forwarded for culture when appropriate.
Rodent Contamination Hair, feces, etc.
Many more... Organic contaminants, crystalline materials, insect identification  etc.

Please contact us to inquire about other foreign material identification services.