LII:LIMS Selection Guide for Food Safety and Quality

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Title: LIMS Selection Guide for Food Safety and Quality

Edition: First Edition

Author for citation: Shawn E. Douglas

License for content: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International

Publication date: January 2023


The laboratory information management system is a critical component of proper laboratory management and operations, including for the food and beverage industry. At stake is the safety and quality of foods and beverages, and by extension the wellbeing of millions of people, as well as the reputation of the businesses that produce the food and beverages. This guide recognizes the important role the food and beverage laboratory plays in our society towards food and beverage safety and quality, as well as the standards and regulations affecting these laboratories and their operations. It then addresses the role of laboratory informatics solutions like the LIMS and what the optimal feature set is for the industry. But acquiring a LIMS is more than just a selection process; there's more to take into consideration such as cybersecurity, regulatory controls, implementation procedures, and future service from the LIMS vendor. This considerations and more are addressed, followed by discussion of a requirements-based specification approach to ensuring your lab acquires the LIMS that best fits its needs.

The table of contents for LIMS Selection Guide for Food Safety and Quality is as follows:


1. Introduction to food and beverage laboratories
1.1 Food and beverage labs, then and now
1.2 Laboratory roles and testing in the industry
1.2.1 R&D roles and testing
1.2.2 Pre-manufacturing and manufacturing roles and testing
1.2.3 Post-production regulation and security roles and testing
1.2.4 Tangential laboratory work
1.3 Safety and quality in the food and beverage industry
2. Standards and regulations affecting food and beverage labs
2.1 Globally recognized food safety standards
2.1.1 British Retail Consortium (BRC) Global Standard for Food Safety (GSFS)
2.1.2 Codex Alimentarius
2.1.3 Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI)
2.1.4 Hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP)
2.1.5 International Featured Standards (IFS)
2.1.6 International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 22000
2.1.8 Safe Quality Food (SQF) Program
2.2 Regulations and laws around the world
2.2.1 Food Safety Act 1990 and Food Standards Act 1999 - United Kingdom
2.2.2 Food Safety and Standards Act of 2006 - India
2.2.3 Food Safety Law - China
2.2.4 Food Sanitation Act and Food Safety Basic Act - Japan
2.2.5 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and other acts - United States
2.2.6 General Food Law Regulation (GFLR) - European Union
2.2.7 Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA) - Canada
2.3 Other influencing factors
2.3.1 Good manufacturing practice (GMP) and current good manufacturing practice (cGMP)
2.3.2 Standards and Scientific Advice on Food and Nutrition (SSA)
3. Choosing laboratory informatics software for your food and beverage lab
3.1 Evaluation and selection
3.1.1 Technology considerations
3.1.1.1 Laboratory informatics options
3.1.2 Features and functions
3.1.2.1 Base features
3.1.2.2 Specialty features
3.1.3 Cybersecurity considerations
3.1.4 Regulatory compliance considerations
3.1.5 System flexibility
3.1.6 Cost considerations
3.2 Implementation
3.2.1 Internal and external integrations
3.3 MSW, updates, and other contracted services
3.4 How a user requirements specification fits into the entire process (LIMSpec)
4. Resources for selecting and implementing informatics solutions
4.1 LIMS vendors
4.2 Consultants
4.3 Professional
4.3.1 Trade organizations
4.3.2 Conferences and trade shows
4.4 LIMSpec
5. Taking the next step
5.1 Conduct initial research into a specification document tailored to your lab's needs
5.2 Issue some of the specification as part of a request for information (RFI)
5.3 Respond to or open dialogue with vendors
5.3.1 The value of demonstrations
5.4 Finalize the requirements specification and choose a vendor
6. Closing remarks
Appendix 1. Blank LIMSpec template for food and beverage labs
A1. Introduction and methodology
A2. Primary laboratory workflow
A3. Maintaining laboratory workflow and operations
A4. Specialty laboratory functions
A5. Technology and performance improvements
A6. Security and integrity of systems and operations
A7. Putting those requirements to practical use and caveats
A8. LIMSpec in Microsoft Word format