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San Francisco Human and Animal Food Laboratory (SANLHAF)

Program Capabilities

Food Analysis

The San Francisco Human and Animal Food Laboratory (SANLHAF) has been recognized nationally for its areas of expertise in microbiology, virology, parasitology, whole gene sequencing (WGS), bacterial and fungal sequencing, heavy metals and toxic elements detection, and food color and additive analyses.  Our programs reach into the national and international arenas to provide training and consultation as well as support during inspections and investigations. Proficient specialization has made it a “go-to” problem-solving laboratory and source for skilled technical methodology development.  


The Chemistry Lab specializes in low-level detection (parts per trillion) of toxic elements in foods and feed, and has validated hand-held tools (e.g., portable X-ray fluorescence) for rapid toxic element screening of regulated products (foods, dietary supplements, and cosmetics) in the field.  In addition to toxic element analysis, novel approaches for improving analyses and detection of additives and colors in food and feed (e.g., sulfites) are a key focus.  


Innovations are important in our laboratory.  The Microbiology Lab participated in the regulatory method development for the detection of Norwalk virus and Hepatitis virus and has participated in collaborative validations of methodologies for Listeria spp, Salmonella spp, Cronobacter spp, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus, pathogenic E. coli, and Cyclospora.  The lab is recognized for its strong capabilities in bacterial and fungal identification using whole genome sequencing, and 16s & 18s rRNA sequencing.   In addition to pathogen expertise, the Microbiology Lab has proficiency in analyzing low-acid canned food products for container integrity and evidence of microbial contamination.

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