Food Testing

food beaker testingFood analysis is an important part of the testing that we do for public safety and healthy living.  CARO vaulted on the national stage last year after winning a national contract with the division of Chemical Residue Testing of Food Products by Public Works and Government Services Canada and is now the #1 Laboratory in Canada Testing fruits, vegetables and honey for chemical residues. This expansion into the food testing sector marks an exciting new chapter for CARO, both through divisional expansion and national exposure.  Much like our current testing of soil, water, air and tissue, we test food products for pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, microbiological parameters, metals, as well as, other less common analyses.

Our Top 3 Food Tests

  • pH and Water Activity in Food – Tests for shelf life stability. This is an essential parameter used to monitor food safety. This test is a primary indicator for food spoilage since it determines the growth of bacterias, yeasts, and molds.
  • Microbiology Full Panel Food Test Kit – Bacterias can be naturally occuring but this test is to ensure there isn’t any harmful levels of bacteria in your food.
  • Pesticides in Food Residue – While these chemicals supposedly only target specific species, repeated use inevitably kills microbial life that is beneficial to the soil system. Pesticides can contaminate soil, water, turf, and other vegetation.

Initial Screening

Health Authorities have developed some basic food safety guidelines that classify health risks associated with certain types of food products. Initial screening would determine the risk category (High or Low) your food product falls into based on the results of the following tests:

  • Hydrogen ion concentration (pH)
  • Water Activity (Aw)

Lower Risk Food – food in a form or state that is not capable of supporting the growth of disease causing microorganisms or the production of toxins. Lower risk foods typically will have one or both of the following

  • Water Activity (Aw) ≤ (greater than or equal to) 0.85 – low moisture content
  • pH ≤ (greater than or equal to) 4.6 – acidic environment

Higher Risk Food – food in a form or state which is capable of supporting growth of disease causing microorganisms or the production of toxins. Generally this includes food products that have both > (greater than) 0.85 Aw for water activity moisture content and > (greater than) 4.6 pH.

Biological Indicators

Based on the initial screening, there are a number of biological indicators that CARO can test for associated with high risk food products as well as inadequate processing, contamination, poor sanitation, and poor food handling processes that may result in preventable food poisoning incidents.

  • Total Coliforms – Exist naturally in soil, water, and vegetation. Total Coliforms are generally harmless but there presence indicates inadequate processing or contamination
  • Fecal Coliforms – Typically found in the feces of humans and animals but may also be found naturally in the environment. Their presence may indicate fecal contamination.
  • Escherichia coliE.coli are members of the fecal coliform group and their presence is an indicator of direct fecal contamination.
  • Salmonella – commonly found in the intestines of animals and birds. Salmonella presence is also an indicator of direct fecal contamination.
  • Total Aerobic Bacteria – Total aerobic bacteria represents the total number of bacteria able to grow in an oxygenated environment. Their presence is typically used to monitor quality and to look for significant changes in quality, sanitation, processing, and food handling.
  • Yeast and Mold – often lead to spoilage of food products, including low risk foods.

In addition to food product testing, ensure proper sanitation of production areas through microbiological environmental surface testing as part of your routine cleaning and safety checks, which we can also do for you with our largest private microbiological laboratory in Western Canada.

shutterstock_154601009 Food Header


CARO has made great strides in developing analytical testing services in contaminated sites and emergent pollutants and see food analysis as a natural extension of our developments; completing the food chain of analysis from the environment to our mouths.  Please see our scope of accreditation here: 

Please feel free to contact us here to obtain further information, request supplies, or to speak to a customer service representative about your specific testing needs.


Richmond, British Columbia

#110 – 4011 Viking Way
Richmond, BC, V6V 2K9, Canada
Phone: (604) 279-1499 Fax: (604) 279-1599
Email: [email protected]
After Hours Emergency: 1 (888) 311-8849


Kelowna, British Columbia

#102 – 3677 Highway 97N
Kelowna, BC, V1X 5C3, Canada
Phone: (250) 765-9646
Toll Free: 1 (888) 311-8846 Fax: (250) 765-3893
Email: [email protected]
After Hours Emergency: 1 (888) 311-8849


Burnaby, British Columbia

#108 – 4475 Wayburne Drive
Burnaby, BC V5G 4X4, Canada
Phone: (604) 279-1499
Email: [email protected]
After Hours Emergency: 1 (888) 311-8849

Contact Us


Edmonton, Alberta

17225 109 Ave NW
Edmonton, AB, T5S 1H7, Canada
Phone: (780) 489-9100
Email: [email protected]
After Hours Emergency: 1 (888) 311-8849


Whitehorse, Yukon

BOX 10 33 Levich Drive


Whitehorse, YT, Y1A0A8, Canada
Contact Us for Supplies and Deliveries
Toll Free: 1 (888) 311-8846
Email: [email protected]
After Hours Emergency: 1 (888) 311-8849


Victoria, British Columbia

#3-576 Hillside Avenue


Victoria, V8T 1Y9, BC, Canada
Contact Us for Supplies and Deliveries
Toll Free: 1 (888) 311-8846
Email: [email protected]
After Hours Emergency: 1 (888) 311-8849