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Food and Drug Laboratory branch


The Food and Drug Laboratory Branch (FDLB) provides services and leadership as a public health reference and research laboratory.  To ensure the safety of Californians, FDLB provides the necessary analytical support to screen for, identify and quantify chemical and microbiological contaminants in food and drugs. FDLB also provides regulatory services for substances of abuse laboratories. All activities implement and support legislatively mandated programs. 

Abused Substances Analysis Section (ASAS) operates a regulatory program that establishes and maintains the competency of laboratories determining blood alcohol levels for the enforcement of drunk driving laws and approves breath alcohol testing procedures used in the State. ASAS also operates a regulatory program that determines and maintains the competency of laboratories providing urine drug screening services to the narcotic treatment programs in the State.

Chemistry Section analyzes food, drugs, medical devices and consumer products for chemical adulterations.  Common analytes are heavy metals, and other toxic chemicals, carcinogens, prescription drugs, food additives and preservatives. 

Microbiology Section analyzes food, drugs, cosmetics, and environmental samples for microbial contamination. Generic tests for microbial load, sterility, or contamination are available. In addition, tests for specific agents, such as E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Vibrio vulnificus, and Listeria monocytogenes can be conducted. Rapid testing for protein biotoxins that cause food poisoning, such as the botulism toxins, staphylococcal enterotoxins and ricin, is available.

Cannabis Testing Section  (CTS) supports the Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch (MCSB) with analytical support of routine inspections, investigations and response to health outbreaks, thus ensuring manufactured cannabis products are free of harmful chemical or microbiological impurities. Common analytes are cannabinoids, residual solvents, terpenes, heavy metals, mycotoxins, foreign materials, moisture content and water activity, salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing E. Coli (STEC) and pathogenic aspergillus species.


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