Applying External Quality Control in Food Testing Laboratories – is it Essential?

Laboratory analysis may be carried out for a number of reasons – usually linked to ensuring a product has been manufactured to meet specifications and regulations and is safe to be released to the market place. It is imperative then, that the results of the analysis can be trusted, in terms of their accuracy and reproducibility.

Monitoring the quality of the analytical results, by using effective Quality Control (QC) tools, can help prevent good product being discarded and stop non-conforming product from being released. For laboratories, QC tools should include an external reference point, over which the laboratory has no direct control. Tools such as proficiency testing (PT) and reference materials (RM) obtained from an external and independent quality source, are key external quality controls. Monitoring the quality of laboratory results is an essential part of achieving accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025 General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories.

Fapas® PT can help you to meet your regulatory requirements, work smarter, demonstrate the quality of your testing services, and increase confidence in the accuracy of your testing regime in a cost-effective manner.

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Why Choose FAPAS?

High Quality Samples

By using real food samples Fapas test materials provide realistic results that simulate real scenarios. Our reference and quality control materials are stable and fully characterised for long term availability in method validation and verification.

Cost Effective

Our extensive range of multi-analyte programmes and analyte/matrix combinations allow you to reduce the number of individual programmes required to cover your test menu, saving both time and money. You can participate at a level that suits you; there is no minimum number of proficiency tests that you must undertake each year. This provides flexibility, ensuring suitability for laboratories of all sizes and budgets.

Highly Accredited

The majority of our proficiency tests are accredited by UKAS in compliance with ISO/IEC 17043/2010, proficiency testing provider number 0009. Fera Science Ltd is also accredited or certified to other internationally recognised standards including ISO 9001:2015. Participant certificates provide evidence of participation in a reputable External Quality Assessment (EQA) Scheme.

Large Database of Users

Fapas testing regimes enjoy over 4,500 participants every year. This high level of participation means peer group numbers are maximised and provides data across a wide range of instruments and methods.


Rapid reporting provides early identification of system errors and allows implementation of any necessary corrective actions with minimum disruption to the laboratory. With a turnaround of less than fifteen days for most reports, corrective action can be implemented earlier, reducing costly errors with laboratory results. Results receive rigorous statistical analysis by our experts within that time.

Comprehensive Reports

Easy-to-digest reporting tables provide at-a-glance performance assessment, saving valuable laboratory time. Our ‘ideal performance’ chart indicator of z-scores summarises performance compared to the previous cycle, allowing you to identify improvements in quality over time. Results can be submitted easily via Fapas SecureWeb at any time to obtain your laboratory number for a proficiency test.

View Our New Testing Schemes For 2023/24

Food Chemistry

Our programme covers the widest possible range of tests in real food samples, including nutritional components, metals, pesticides, toxins, allergens and a whole lot more

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Our test materials simulate real laboratory samples with varying levels of target pathogens, indicator microorganisms, spoilage organisms, and background flora.

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Water & Environment

For both chemical and microbiological analysis, our programme meets the UK Drinking Water Inspectorate requirements, and also covers waste waters and high salinity water

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GM Foods

Our Genetically Modified materials programme helps make sure your analysis meets the strict EU regulations on control of genetically modified foods, animal feed and tobacco.

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Popular Proficiency Test Categories

Fapas offers high-quality test materials that allow your laboratories to highlight an extensive range of analytes, including alcohol, alcohol-related congeners, acidity, inorganic ions, organic acids, quality indexes including colour, sugars, sulphur dioxide, heavy metals and nutritional elements. We aim to provide detailed insight into your testing practices, in order to highlight areas of improvement, maintain your testing abilities, and implement improvements and safeguards. This can be through both instrumentation calibration and staff training activities.

The Fapas Way

We use real food samples and a protocol that has been refined for 30 years in order to obtain life-like results and eliminate as much of the unexpected as possible.

In order to obtain life-like results and eliminate as much of the unexpected as possible, we use real food samples and a protocol that has been refined over 30 years.

We use incurred materials in combination with established fortification techniques, and extensive stability and homogeneity testing to ensure optimum material production. Our statistical process is not only compliant with our accreditation but also exceeds the efforts of our competitors.


We understand the challenges of your business and the regulatory requirements that drive your day-to-day testing.

Our bespoke proficiency testing scheme is specifically designed to suit your business requirements just when you need it, rather than working around an existing scheme operational timetable, despatch dates, and reporting deadlines.

We work closely with you to highlight the fundamental challenges within your current testing regime, from unresolved recurring issues to quality improvements.

We also help you to identify equipment failures and corrective action, by employing an organised, step-by step, unbiased process to break down the complexities of business problems into manageable elements.

Browse all our proficiency tests

With over 600 programmes available you can be sure we have the right test for you. We are constantly adding to our list of tests, driven by market demand, changes in regulation and of course your customer feedback. Search our entire catalogue of tests.

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