UMaine Food Testing Services

University of Maine Food Testing Services

(Scheduled Process Review)

*We have migrated our testing services onto a new online system
that requires payment upon product submission. Food product testing
can be paid via credit card or electronic check. To access the new online
system and to submit products or create a new account, please visit our
new site:

https://extension.umaine.edu/food-technology/

First steps: Please review the information below on what is required and how
to correctly send in products for testing. When product formulations are not
submitted or paid correctly, this delays our process in providing test results
back to our clients in a timely manner.

*Our testing prices, effective Oct. 1, 2018 to Sept. 30, 2019:

In-state: Out-of-State:
Test: Pricing Test: Pricing
pH $25.00 pH $40.00
Water activity $25.00 Water activity $40.00
Brix $25.00 Brix $40.00
Titratable Acidity $25.00 Titratable Acidity $40.00
Microbial analysis $65.00 Microbial analysis $90.00
Water phase salt $45.00 Water phase salt $55.00
Least sterilizing value $25.00 Least sterilizing value $40.00

*Confidentiality note: Submitted recipes are kept strictly confidential. However, test
results will be shared with regulatory agencies as part of the product review process.

About our Food Testing Services and What is Required:

We offer a team approach to provide food testing services and specialize
in working with small and start-up food businesses. While our primary mission is
to support Maine and New Hampshire food businesses, we also work with
businesses across the U.S. and are recognized process authorities by the FDA.

Our Team:

  • Kathy Dentici, Research Assistant and Laboratory Manager.  Kathy
    conducts food testing.
  • Dr. Beth Calder and Dr. Jason Bolton, process authorities and primary
    contacts for questions regarding testing, test results and process
    reviews. Beth and Jason review test results, formulations, processing
    methods submitted and write individualized and comprehensive review
    letters.

What products can be sent to us for testing?

We typically conduct testing and process and product reviews on shelf-stable,
canned foods, fermented foods, water-activity controlled dessert sauces,
frostings/fillings, high moisture baked goods and minimally processed dried
food products.

What products are not covered by our testing services?

We do not conduct testing or process reviews on perishable (frozen or
refrigerated foods) or meat and poultry products. We also do not provide
testing for cold filled, shelf stable products except for mayonnaise products.
We do not provide shelf-life tests or nutritional facts labels.

Examples of tests required for certain food products:

*Pickled foods (acidified foods) and most sauces/dressings will need both pH
and water activity tests.

*Jams and jellies will need pH, water activity and brix tests.

*Dessert sauces (caramel and chocolate) will need brix and water activity
tests.

*Fermented foods will need pH and titratable acidity tests.

*Food samples that do not typically require a review in Maine are baked
goods (without dairy-based fillings/frostings), candy/confections, plain, berry-
based jams/jellies and dry mixes.

If you have any questions in regards to which tests may be required for your
food product or if we can analyze your product, please contact Beth or Jason
prior to submitting and paying for samples online.Please see our contact
information below.

Our turnaround time is typically 5-6 weeks, but can be delayed due to
holidays, our workshop schedules or can be impacted by the volume of
products sent to us for testing. We provide these services on a part-time
basis around our research, outreach and teaching schedules. We appreciate
your patience. Our laboratory observes federal holidays and will be closed on
those days and weekends. The laboratory is also open during limited times
after December 25 for inventory purposes and will resume our normal testing
schedule on January 2.

Questions about testing?

If you have any questions whether you should send in a product for
testing, which tests are required for your product, or how to start a food
business in Maine, please contact Beth Calder or Jason Bolton.

Beth Calder, Ph.D.
Extension Food Science Specialist
University of Maine
Cooperative Extension & School of Food and Agriculture
5735 Hitchner Hall
Orono, Maine 04469-5735
207-581-2791 or email: beth.calder@maine.edu

Jason Bolton, Ph.D.
Extension Food Safety Specialist
University of Maine
Cooperative Extension
5735 Hitchner Hall
Orono, Maine 04469-5735
207-581-1366 or email: jason.bolton@maine.edu

What is required for the review process:

  • REQUIRED: The batch recipe ingredients must be converted onto a
    weight basis (including fluids) and converted over to the same unit
    (grams, ounces or pounds). The most accurate method is to
    purchase a scale that is accurate to 0.5 +/- the unit of measure to
    individually weigh out the ingredients.
  • The online form will require you to include your full name, company
    name (if applicable), email, mailing address and phone number.
  • Your email address is required, as we will send all results electronically.
  • One product of each size container must be sent to our laboratory. The
    product must be packaged in the container in which it will be sold to
    customers. For pickled and water bath-processed foods, if you intend to
    sell your product in several different container sizes, please submit 1
    sample of each container size.
  • Detailed description of how each product is produced, including
    vegetable preparation (if applicable) and heating
    temperatures and times.
  • Please limit the number of samples to 10 per review.
  • Be sure to place an identifying label on each product.
  • Include a business card or note with name and address when mailing or
    dropping off samples.
  • For ready to eat and minimally processed foods – you may need
    additional microbial testing.
  • Payment: We now require payment with a credit card or electronic
    check made payable to the University of Maine, If you are having
    issues with paying online or with login and password issues,
    please contact Michele Lodgek at 207-581-2721
    or michele.lodgek@maine.edu.

If you prefer to deliver samples in person, please contact Sheila Vaillancourt
at 207-581-3181/ Sheila.vaillancourt@maine.edu or Angela Hart at 207-581-
2811/ angela.hart@maine.edu . They can receive food products from 8:30am
to 4:30pm Monday thru Friday and are located in 104 Libby Hall at the Orono
campus.

If you decide to mail your product(s), please carefully pack containers
(to prevent breakage during shipping) and mail to:

Kathy Dentici
University of Maine
School of Food and Agriculture
5735 Hitchner Hall, Room 200
Orono, Maine 04469-5735

 Other Resources:

Starting a new food business and need some guidance on how to get started?
Please visit this online fact sheet called Recipe to
Market: http://umaine.edu/publications/3101e/

Recipe to Market Workshops are also available on how to start a food
business, please contact Beth if you are interested in
attending a workshop.

Food safety workshops for Maine food industries:
https://extension.umaine.edu/food-health/food-safety/training/

 

Need microbiological or shelf-life testing, and/or nutrition facts labels?

Two laboratories in Maine provide these services:

Katahdin Analytical Services:  http://www.katahdinlab.com/

Northeast Laboratory Services: http://nelabservices.com/

Need to obtain a license to sell food products in Maine?

Food license applications can be accessed online through the Maine
Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry, Quality Assurance and
Regulations web site:
http://www.maine.gov/dacf/qar/permits_and_licenses/index.shtml.

Regulatory or inspection questions?  Please visit this web site for contact
information:
http://www.maine.gov/dacf/qar/inspection_programs/consumer_food_inspection.shtml.