About the Agriculture Laboratory
The mission of the Laboratory program is to establish, maintain, and improve analytical laboratory services for the Meat and Poultry Inspection, Dairy Inspection, Agricultural Commodities Assurance program (Feed), and Pesticide and Fertilizer subprograms. The many analytical services provided by the laboratory support the agency’s consumer and environmental protection missions. The laboratory analyses provide credible, legally defensible results, and while most inspections and investigations conducted by the department do not end up in court, those that do often rely on analytical results issued by the Agriculture Laboratory.
Unlike most Kansas Department of Agriculture programs, the Agriculture Laboratory does not serve the public directly. No samples may be brought in by the general public to be analyzed. Instead, samples are brought in by inspectors and investigators from the regulatory programs within the Kansas Department of Agriculture.
The laboratory is made up of four sections. These sections include Dairy, Microbiology/Meat and Poultry, Feed and Fertilizer, and Pesticides. Each section is tasked with specific duties depending upon the programs it serves.
The Dairy Section of the laboratory is FDA certified to analyze raw and finished milk and milk products for a variety of quality-related parameters, such as bacteria counts, checking for the presence of antibiotics, and checking for complete pasteurization. These test results ensure consumers are getting wholesome, healthy products. Samples are collected by the Dairy Inspection Program from farms and milk plants all over the state.
Microbiology/Meat and Poultry Section
The Microbiology/Meat and Poultry Section conducts microbiological testing of raw and ready-to-eat meat samples, as well as environmental samples from processing facilities, for the presence of pathogens. These pathogens include salmonella spp, Listeria monocytogenes, and E.coli O157:H7. They test meat samples for fat, protein, and moisture content, and screen muscle, kidney, and liver tissue for the presence of antibiotics. This section also determines the amount of sodium nitrate in meat cures and verifies the components in branding inks. Samples are collected from all meat processing facilities in the state by the Meat and Poultry Inspection program.
Feed and Fertilizer Section
The laboratory’s Feed and Fertilizer Section analyzes animal feeds and fertilizers to ensure they are meeting label guarantees, such as minimum protein or percent sulfur. The amounts of antibiotics and other drugs are measured in medicated feeds. Feeds are also analyzed for the presence of prohibited ruminant materials, and pets foods are screened for melamine. Finished feeds and feed components, such as distiller’s grains, are screened for mycotoxins. In addition to label guarantees, fertilizers are also checked to see that they don’t contain excessive amounts of heavy metals, such as arsenic and lead. Samples are collected by ACAP and Fertilizer Inspectors from all over the state.
The Pesticide Section provides analysis of all classes of pesticides in both residue and product samples that are received from Investigators with the Pesticide and Fertilizer Program. Residue samples can range from vegetation and soil to clothing and bees. Pesticide products are checked to see that they meet their label guarantees regarding the percent active ingredient. Raw milk samples are screened for a variety of pesticides at residue levels in support of the Dairy Program.
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