The Food section of the IAS Laboratory specialises in the analyses of nutritional and contaminant content of South Pacific foods, data on which can be used for nutritional labeling.  The combination of these skills as well as in sampling and food technology are used to explore new product developments for community initiatives and trade.  The facility has generated nutrient data for 150 foods and revised the Pacific Island Food Composition Tables which is necessary for nutrition planning, agriculture policy and trade.  Through a larger project with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, it has developed a capacity to analyse all major food contaminants common in the region which are important for trade and health purposes and to monitor the Food Act and Environmental Management Act. These include heavy metals, histamine and certain pesticides types.

Food Samples Types

  • Dairy products
  • Meat and Meat Products and Poultry
  • Cereals
  • Edible oils, fats and derived products
  • Nuts, fruits, vegetables and derived products
  • Sauces, herbs, spices and condiments
  • Sugar and sugar confectionery
  • Fish and fish products
  • Eggs and egg products
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • Food additives and supplement
  • Animal feeds
  • Other specified fresh foods (root crops e.g. cassava, dalo)
  • Other specified preserved foods (honey, noni-juice, glazed ginger, sugar-coated ginger, potato chips, banana & breadfruit chips)

Fish & Fish Products Testing for the European Market

For exporting purposes to the European Union (EU), the IAS Laboratory Services offers accredited tests for fish & fish products such as Histamine in Fish, Lead, Cadmium & Mercury in Fish, coagulase positive Staphylococci in fish and other microbiological tests listed above under “Nutritional Information Panels & Food Safety Monitoring“.   European Union assessors have over the years visited and assessed the IAS Laboratory for competence in analysis of fish & fish products exported to the EU.  As a result IAS Laboratory Services is a designated EU laboratory for analysing fish & fish products destined for the EU in the South West Pacific.

Nutritional Information Panels & Food Safety

A Nutrition Information Panel (NIP) is a table that lists the average quantities of seven key components of food and is required on most packaged foods. The quantities are given per serving and per 100 grams (g) or milliliters (mL). NIPs can be used to compare foods, allowing consumers to choose foods which are lower in fat, saturated fat, sugar and sodium. Our analysis provides accurate information about the nutrient composition of a product. Testing for NIPs includes:

  • Sodium
  • Ash
  • Carbohydrate (by difference)
  • Dietary fibre (soluble, insoluble and total)
  • Energy
  • Fat
  • Moisture
  • Protein
  • Total sugars
  • Saturated fat
  • Cholesterol
  • Trans fatty acids

Mineral Analysis

Testing for minerals includes:

  • Toxic / heavy metals (Lead, Mercury, Cadmium)
  • Trace elements (chromium)
  • Other minerals (sodium, potassium, calcium & iron)

Vitamin Analysis

Testing for Vitamin in Food, Dairy, Raw material and premix includes:

  • Vitamin A – retinol & carotenes
  • Vitamin B – thiamine and riboflavin
  • Vitamin C – ascorbic acid

Food Safety Monitoring

Food for human consumption must be safe and does not pose any risks to health.  For this reason, food manufacturers are required to monitor and test their products for micro-organisms that may have potential to pose a risk to humans. The testing criteria are largely specified by overseas markets that the products are being exported to and also to fulfill domestic market regulations. Some of the accredited food safety tests done by the IAS Laboratory Services are:

  • Aerobic Plate Count  
  • Coliforms (Total & Faecal)
  • Yeasts and Moulds   
  • Escherichia coli
  • Salmonella species    
  • Campylobacter jejuni     

Bacillus cereus (presumptive)  

  • Enterobacteriaceae    
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Salmonella

Non-accredited tests but for which quality control checks are applied are:

  • Listeria species
  • Listeria monocytogenes   
  • Vibrio parahaemolyticus

Kava and kava products testing

Kava testing for exporting purposes is also available.  Available tests are lactones and moisture

Food Test List

PretreatmentSample preparation (drying, grinding and homogenising))
Physical AnalysesMoisture (vacuum oven)
*Moisture – (freeze drying)
*Moisture in oil
Chemical Analyses Salt (as NaCI)
Chloride (in Salt)
Crude Fat (soxhlet)
Total Fat (acid hydrolysis)
* Trans Fat (total fat required)
*Saturated/unsaturated fat
* Fats and oil – free fatty acids
*Fibre (crude)
Fibre (total dietary)
– A- * retinol, carotenes (each)
– B- * thiamine, * riboflavin (each)
– C- * ascorbic acid
Histamine in fish
* Sulfur dioxide
Starch (by HPLC)
Sugars (by HPLC)
* Invert Sugars
* Kava lactone analysis (local/overseas)
* Energy
*Energy (with proximates)
Trace Metal AnalysesDigestion, excluding sample preparation
Ca, Mg, Na, K, Cu, Zn, Fe, Mn
Pb, Cd, Cr
Microbiological Analysis of Food and Swab SamplesAerobic Plate/Anaerobic Count(Total Plate Count)
Yeast & Moulds
*Osmophilic Yeast
Total Coliforms (MPN)
Faecal Coliforms (MPN)
E.coli (MPN)
*Listeria spp.
Total Staphylococcus
Staphylococcus aureus
Coagulase positive Staphylococcus
*Listeria monocytogenes
Clostridium perfringens
Campylobacter jejuni
Total Coliform (Pour Plate Method)
E. coli
Presumptive Bacillus cereus