Laboratory Quality Assurance

Module summary

Module code: FOOD1016
Level: 7
Credits: 15
School: Engineering and Science
Department: Natural Resources Institute
Module Coordinator(s): Richard Fuchs



Laboratory analyses need to be carried out in a controlled and efficient way by trained, competent staff who produce results that can be verified. Results produced in a laboratory are often used to confirm that safety and quality management systems are working effectively and that food produced is compliant with private and public standard requirements. The aims of this Module are to ensure that students understand and are able to apply the principles of Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) and that they understand the importance of managing a laboratory to guarantee that the methods followed are carried out in a systematic way. The principles of Good Laboratory Practices will be promoted to minimise the errors of analysis when carrying out routine samples of food in both chemistry and microbiology laboratories. Students will gain an understanding of the applicability of tests, in relation to the resources available to a laboratory and practical experience of working within a laboratory quality assurance system such as ISO 17025.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:
1. critically apply the requirements of the BS EN ISO/IEC standards, in particular 17025;
2. reflect upon the significance of GLP throughout the analytical process, from sampling plans to presentation of results;
3. critically assess the significance of findings from analyses in relation to national and international standards for food safety and quality parameters;
4. develop strategies for ensuring the quality of laboratory results.

Indicative content

• ISO 17025 – General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories;
• Preparation and maintenance of a laboratory manual;
• The importance of sampling plans and transportation of samples to a laboratory;
• The process for the analysis of food;
• Verification of laboratory procedures;
• Training of staff to ensure competency;
• Reporting and certification.

Teaching and learning activity

• Lectures and discussions on the theoretical component covering the basic subject matter, including study materials and case studies;
• Student practical sessions reinforcing theoretical aspects;
• Practical demonstrations;
• Case studies of relevance taken from practical experiences of staff.


Laboratory Plan: 50% weighting, 50% pass mark.
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 4.
Word Length: 1500 words equivalent.
Outline Details: Design a testing laboratory considering the flow of samples, prevention of cross-contamination and separation of tasks.

Practical Report: 50% weighting, 50% pass mark.
Learning Outcomes: 1, 3, 4.
Word Length: 2000 words.
Outline Details: Students will report on and interpret quality assurance data that have been produced in a practical session.

Formative Assessment: Preparation of a Standard Operating Procedure.