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Forensic Chemistry Center (FCC)

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Program Capabilities

The Forensic Chemistry Center (FCC) serves as the FDA’s national forensic laboratory providing specialized laboratory services in analytical chemistry and molecular/microbiology related to adulteration/contamination, counterfeiting, and product tampering of FDA regulated commodities including drugs, dietary supplements, foods, cosmetics, veterinary feeds, tobacco products, and medical devices.  The laboratory is located in Cincinnati, Ohio, in a 46,000 square-foot facility. FCC provides expert technical support and forensic laboratory services for the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations to protect the consumer from fraudulent, counterfeit and harmful products.  FCC scientists provide sample testing, analytical method development and research as well as expert testimony in criminal trials on results of forensic analyses.  The FCC is accredited by ANSI-National Accreditation Board (ANAB) to ISO/IEC 17025:2017 in the field of Forensic Science Testing and the FCC Scope of Accreditation can be found on ANAB’s website.  FCC also plays a significant role in many public-health emergency investigations involving potential chemical contamination of FDA-regulated products.  FCC scientists have established global partnerships and provide problem solving in support of substandard and falsified products. FCC scientists participate in field testing using hand-held tools and provide training to Agency and international scientists and field investigators on emerging methods and new forensic tools.  FCC is a member of the FDA Food Emergency Response Network (FERN) as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Laboratory Response Network (LRN).  

Specialized Capabilities

The FCC uses a variety of tools and techniques to identify targeted and non-targeted chemical substances, to quantitate targeted analytes, to identify pathogenic and non-pathogenic organisms, to investigate cases of counterfeiting, product tampering and economic adulteration, and to detect and characterize large biomolecules. 

  •  Elemental/Inorganic Analysis
    •  Inductively Coupled Plasma Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-AES)
    •  Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS)
    •  X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF)
    •  Ion chromatography (IC)
    •  Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (IRMS)
    •  Cavity Ring Down Spectroscopy (CRDS)
  •  Mass Spectrometric Analysis
    •  Gas Chromatography – Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS, GC-MS/MS)
    •  Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (LC-MSn, LC-MS/MS, QTRAP, Orbitrap, QTOF, MALDI) 
    •  Ion Mobility Spectrometry (IMS)
  •  Microbiological Analysis 
    •  Traditional culture testing / microbiological screen
    •  Real-time polymerase chain reaction (Real-time PCR)
    •  16S-rDNA sequencing
    •  Whole genome sequencing
    •  Sterility
    •  DNA seafood barcoding
  •  Quantitative Analysis
    •  High performance liquid chromatography-UV detection (HPLC-UV)
    •  High performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS)
    •  Gas chromatography-flame ionization detection (GC-FID)
    •  Ultraviolet/Visible Spectroscopy (UV-VIS)
    •  Enzyme-linked immunoassay / microplate Spectrometer (ELISA)
  •  Spectroscopic Analysis
    •  Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR, macro/micro/imaging)
    •  Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (NMR) 
    •  Raman Spectroscopy
    •  Ultraviolet/Visible Spectroscopy (UV-VIS)
  •  Trace Analysis 
    •  Microchemical tests
    •  Image Analysis (2DIA, 3DIA)
    •  Light Microscopy (SLM, PLM, DLM)
    •  Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscopy/Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectrometry (FE-SEM/EDS)
    •  X-ray Powder Diffraction (XRD)
    •  Alternate light source analysis (CDx, VSC, Crimescope) 
  •  Hand-held/Portable Analysis 


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