TFDA is dedicated to being a gatekeeper for food safety and quality. Proficiency testing (PT) is an essential part of laboratory quality procedure and participation is a mandatory requirement of ISO 17025 accreditation. TFDA has passed the international PT for food many years, which demonstrates that the analysis ability and detection methods of TFDA National Laboratory have been recognized all over the world.
For the laboratory accreditation requirements of "Test for Food Microorganisms – Salmonella in different matrices such as salad, milk powders, soft cheese, liquid egg, chicken, chocolate, ground peppers, sprouting seeds and lettuce", TFDA has taken Food Examination Performance Assessment Scheme (FEPAS) since 2001 and TFDA passed the PT annually.
To keep improving analysis capabilities, TFDA took the initiative to challenge the PT of identifying the unknown pathogens in beef rice cooking and sponge swabs. Participants need to apprehend this outbreak and develop strategies for analysis, so as to identify the possible etiologic agents in the analyte/matrix which is simulated the food poisoning with symptoms, incubation period and the suspected food.
In the “beef rice cooking” PT, TFDA not only accurately detected Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Cerro inoculated in the matrix as the etiologic agent of virtual food poisoning but also the only organization identified the additional strains, Staphylococcus epidermidis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. In the organizer's distribution report for the “sponge swabs” PT, TFDA was also the laboratory which appropriately identified both the causative organism: Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar Cerro and background flora: Lactobacillus plantarum and Kocuria rhizophila.
Developing and proclaiming the detection methods for food is one of the major responsibilities of TFDA to guarantee food safety and quality. Over the years (2001-2017), the detection methods have been revised and updated in real time according to the trends of international methods or special needs which includes the separation and identification of strains by traditional microbial biochemical tests and molecular biology techniques (ex. Real-time PCR) for rapid identification. Base on the continued success of participating in international PT all these years, the satisfactory results show that the detection standards of TFDA are in sync with those of other countries and the detection methods are worth universal trust.