Food Forensics offers two categories of services in connection with consumer complaint samples of food, beverage or other consumer packaged goods, namely initial sample assessment and additional testing services. Sample retrieval and shipping services are also available.

Initial Sample Assessment

An initial physical observation, forensic microscopy, and microbiological evaluation of a consumer complaint sample (“Sample”) is performed at the Food Forensics laboratory in order to confirm or dismiss an allegation presented by a consumer.  The Initial Assessment Service includes:

  • Initial assessment and categorization of complaint
  • Photographic documentation of product, packaging, product code, and alleged foreign material, if applicable.
  • Initial Assessment Report within 72 hours after Sample receipt
  • Project Requests and Reports via secure, 24/7 web based program
  • Additional Testing Options Identified
  • Priority Treatment for Additional Testing
  • Thirty (30) calendar day sample retention (storage hold) from receipt date
  • Stringent Chain of Custody and Procedure Controls

Additional Testing Services

In order to identify and confirm alleged foreign material and/or alleged food-borne pathogens, additional testing beyond the Initial Sample Assessment testing may be desired in order to further investigation an allegation.  Our clients may choose from a wide variety of additional testing, including without limitation, physical observation, forensic microscopy, microbiology, microbiological profiles, and analytical testing.  Examples of specific additional tests are explained below.

Foreign Matter Identification

Food Forensics offers the scientific resources required to provide certain and prompt identification of contaminants, no matter what their origin.

Microbiological Identification / Testing

Employing the most up-to-date technologies and approved analytical methods, highly trained and skilled microbiologists can help you identify, confirm or dismiss alleged potential food-borne pathogens. Microbiology services include without limitation (click panel to open):

  • Salmonella
  • Listeria
  • E. coli O157:H7
  • Clostridium botulinum (Toxin and organism)
  • Staph enterotoxin
  • B. cereus enterotoxin
  • And More
  • Egg
  • Milk
  • Peanut
  • Soy
  • And More
  • Aerobic Plate Count
  • Anaerobic Plate count
  • Psychrotrophic Plate Count
  • Lactic Acid Bacteria Count
  • Yeasts and Molds
  • And More
  • Full Nutritional analysis
  • Miscellaneous vitamins & minerals


All reports and Additional Testing options will be posted on a secure, web-based system known as the Sample Management System (“SMS”).  The Initial Assessment Report will be available within 3 to 4 business days from date of Sample receipt for routine testing. Additional Testing Reports shall be posted on SMS website upon completion of the analysis.  The SMS website is self administered by each client Company.  The Company shall designate one administrator who may provide access to one or more users with various levels of access and security.

Sample Retrieval Services

RQA’s field representatives can pick up samples directly from consumers, stores, or manufacturing locations. Samples will be retrieved, photographed, appropriately packed, and shipped directly to the Food Forensics laboratory. More details on this service are available here.

Litigation Support

RQA Food Forensics™ is prepared to support its findings with expert testimony when requested.

Consumer Complaint Clearinghouse

Consumer Complaint Clearinghouse

RQA Food Forensics’ Consumer Complaint Clearinghouse™ provides a cost effective alternative for the handling, documentation, assessment and storage of your complaint samples.

Consumer Complaint Retrieval

Consumer Complaint Retrieval

RQA Consumer Complaint Retrieval Service. When you need to retrieve a complaint sample from your consumer, you need the speed, efficiency, and professionalism of RQA.