How do I submit a sample?

To learn all the ins and outs of submitting samples, go here.

How much sample do I need to bring in?

100 grams (~3.5oz) is usually sufficient for all the testing you request. This is 100 grams TOTAL, not 100 grams for each test you are requesting. The exception to this is when your company requires 125g, 375g, or 750g testing on the qualitative analyses (ex. Salmonella, Listeria). In that case, you would want to provide us with the amount you need for the speciality qualitative analyses (125g or 375g, etc) plus the 100 grams for all other testing. If you have very limited quantities of your product, please contact us and we can give you the exact amount you need to bring in.

How do I get swabs or water sampling containers?

We provide swabs and water sampling containers as long as they are submitted to MCL for testing. If you are an existing client of ours, please login to the client page and select “order supplies”. Depending on your location, we will ship them to you or drop them off. If you are a new client, please include the number of swabs and water containers you need in the "how can we help you" box on the contact form.

How many swabs do I need per site?

The answer to this question will vary depending on what testing you need on each swab. The qualitative tests (Salmonella, Listeria, E.coli O157:H7) all need their own swab. However, the quantitative or enumerated analyses can all be done from a single swab, and that same swab can then be used for one of the qualitative tests listed above. For example, if you need to test each location for APC, Coliform, and Listeria you would only need to provide us with one swab per location. However, if you need to test Listeria and Salmonella, you will need to provide us with two swabs per location. We understand that this can get confusing for our clients, so please call us if you are still having difficulty figuring out how many swabs you need per location.

What is the best way to take a water sample?

The Water Sampling Instructions are located under the Forms tab in the main navigation bar at the top of this page.

When will my results be ready?

The answer to this question varies greatly depending on a few factors. First, every test has a different turnaround time. Most microbiological tests take at least 24 hours and some can take up to 5 days. Depending on which method is used for your product type, the turnaround time can vary as well. If you look at our services list, you can see the possible ranges for turnaround times for each test we offer. If turnaround time is of utmost importance to you, call us with your specific needs and we will see if our methodology will be a good fit for you. For most all of the microbiological analyses that we offer, we will start the testing the same day that we receive the sample, as long as we receive it before noon.

Do you keep my samples after you test them?

Yes, we do. We keep refrigerated items and frozen items for one week from the day we started testing. For all dry goods, we retain the samples for two weeks from the day we started testing.

How do I get my results?

We will email the people listed on the analysis request form as soon as results are complete. If you have several people in your company that will get the results, we will establish an email group for your company. All reports will be sent to that group, and there will be no need to fill out the email portion on the request form.

What methods do you use?

Our methods are listed on our ISO Scope of Accreditation. If you do not see a particular method you are looking for and if you want to see if we can add it, please contact us.

My company requires specific methods and I don't see those on your scope. Can you help me?

We are adding methods all the time. Please contact us with the specific method that you need and we will take a look at it.

What if someone left my company and I need to change our email distribution list?

Simply log in to the client page and select “Change Email Group”.

What if I don’t understand my results?

That’s what we are here for! First, check out the services page on our website. If you click on each service it will give you a little bit of information about each test. If you have further questions, please email them to: lab@mclfoodtesting.com. Also, remember to include your phone number and a good time for us to call you. Depending on the nature of the question, we might send you a quick email or decide that a phone conversation is the best option.

How confidential are my results?

At MCL, confidentiality is of the utmost importance. The only people who will ever know about your results are the people you include on the analysis request form. In fact, if someone who is not included on the request form calls about results, we will not discuss anything with them until we have your written permission. All of our employees are contracted to keep all client information confidential at all times.

Does your lab have any certifications?

Yes, we do. We are ISO 17025 accredited. ISO which stands for the International Organization for Standardization, is considered to be the single most important standard for testing laboratories. In order to become ISO accredited, MCL had to demonstrate technical competence and the ability to produce precise and accurate test results. For a lab to become ISO accredited, it does not need to have all of its tests and methods on its scope of accreditation. If a method is not listed on a lab's scope of accreditation, it is not subjected to the rigorous scrutiny of ISO compliance. MCL is proud to have over 95% of our testing methods on our scope of accreditation. We are also accredited by the State of Washington Department of Ecology for Coliform and E.coli analysis in drinking water.

How do I get the copy of your most recent ISO certificate?

Our most recent ISO 17025 Certificate of Accreditation is located under the forms tab in the main navigation bar at the top of this page. If you are a new customer, we will send the certificate over when we initially set up your account.

I need someone to swab my production facility; can you do that?

We sure can! We can come to your facility and do monthly or quarterly swabbing. Alternatively, we can come out to your facility and set up an environmental monitoring program that you or your employees could then carry out from that day forward.

My dinner last night made me sick, can you test it for me?

Unfortunately, we do not do any testing for private consumers. Because our client base consists of food manufacturing companies, we consider testing for private consumers to be a conflict of interest. If you feel that the food you ate made you ill, we recommend calling the health department in your state and seeking their guidance. For Washington state, the health department number is 360-236-4700.