Monday, March 4, 2013

Question for you: What do you think about testing kits?


In this post, Angela asks: I wanted to ask you about this testing kit from Saffire Blue, and if you thought that buying and using this type of kit was beneficial for a soap/lotion/shampoo/conditioner test rather than send the product to a lab to be tested. I think that it could save me some money as I would like to sell some of my products at some point at the farmers market but don't really have the money at this point to pay to test every recipe in a lab. Or should I just wait and save up for the lab test and not waste my money on this. 

Great question! These kits allow you to test up to 10 products for about $50. You know I'm a great fan of safe products, so my first instinct is to say yes, get it. I like these kits because they give me information quickly and at home. Getting something tested at a lab is very expensive, and a homecrafter like me isn't going to spend that kind of money on one small batch of lotion, so these kits seem to be the best fit for the job.

But I want to put this out to you, my lovely readers. What do you think? What experiences have you had with these kits? Those of you who send your products to the lab, have you tried both methods? Have you seen a difference between the lab results and the kits? We're dying to hear your thoughts!

As an aside, I cannot tell you how much I want this mini incubator! And I have found this kit at Lotioncrafter, for my American readers. I haven't found them in the European or Australian retailers yet, and I encourage links in the comments if you have information. And please note that I mention these retailers and create those links as information, not as promotion of a specific company or product. 

16 comments:

Angela said...

Thank you so much for answering my question. I'm going to try it out right away. :)
I'm also eager to hear what others have to say about it.

Angela

Sciarretta Farms said...

I have been looking at these kits too, would love to hear experiences.

Matthew said...

If you're selling to the public get the lab test. These kits just tell you how many microorganisms are in your product. A preservative efficacy test will tell you how effective your preservative system is at preventing the growth of pathogenic organisms

Otion Soap said...

That's genius! Way cheaper than sending out for lab tests on smaller batches. So accessible too. I wonder if they're sufficient to satisfy the FDA's requirements for safety substantiation though? I can't find anything in the regulations that states what the requirements would be for microbial testing, just general product and ingredient toxicity.

Just for kicks, I thought I'd throw in this link to the FDA's Microbiological Methods.

Otion Soap said...

Edit: It helps if I post the link I refer to:
http://www.fda.gov/Food/ScienceResearch/LaboratoryMethods/BacteriologicalAnalyticalManualBAM/ucm073598.htm

catherine said...

I've used the biosan test kits and I think they work. Here's what I recommend: Do one test at the beginning and another test 6 months later (or even 1 yr later if that's the expiration you're planning to list on your product).

I'm confident my product is well preserved bc it's just as 'clean' 6 months later.

Fyi the only time it wasn't (it was in the 'acceptable' range but I want better) was when I used grapeseed oil, which confirms everything you've read about grapeseed oil shelf life on this blog!

I know biosan does lab testing...I think about $1000. Just wondering, does anyone know of other labs, their costs, etc?

Fyi the test kits have a 6 month shelf life.

Ps. This discussion really brings home the importance of taking your time with lotion making, before selling. If u r selling a lotion saying it lasts 6 months, did you use it for 6 months? A year would be even better...

Aljonor said...

I used this product and like it very much. Will purchase again. They do have an expiration date on their own and work very well in room temperature provided that you use it before it expires. They also have small round labels for you to write the name of yor product and the date. the wait time with is 2 weeks without the incubator. The directions are simple and the results of the test are easy to read. You will be very surprised to see how your preservative is working. Lotioncrafter has even added a bonus by giving you swabs, I believe. Other companies do not have it. Susan, I am with you. I need to purchase that incubator too. But first I must purchase a ph reader. Anyone with information?

Aljonor said...

I tried to get my products lab tested... $2000 and that was 1 product, but included a lot of different tests. But the one at Lotioncrafter works. It is made by a creditable company.

Leslie said...

Hi All!

I work in a lab that does micro food testing. I looked at the test kit and surmised that one side tests for aerobic bacteria (APC), basically any bug that can grow in air, and the other side is for yeast and mold. I am not sure how well someone could determine yeast from mold (but would that matter?) My concern with the kit would be that it might be REALLY easy to contaminate it during the sampling of your product. I think the tests would be very helpful if the result is "no growth" but I would be suspect of positive results for a product that I had preserved.
Also, I would like to know what tests are being done by the lab testing. We do not change any way near 1000.00 for a shelf life study with includes APC and Yeast and Mold for food. Perhaps we need to broaden our field of testing! :)
Great information! Thanks Susan

Anonymous said...

I was looking into these test kits as well. I am still working on formulating, but didn't want to go through all of the hard work of formulating something and then not being able to afford lab testing. I see no reason why these could not be used. Determining bacterial, mold, and fungal counts of each batch is important. But I also believe each individual formulation such as a lotion or cream needs to go through a challenge test to see if the formula with preservative is sufficient.
I'm actually looking forward to the home testing! I haven't done anything with microbiology since college! I guess I'd better not let my Biology degree go to waste :)I hope this all makes sense! I have been searching for test kits and pricing labs and my mind is swirling! Thank you for the timely post!

Corina said...

So where are the labs to send my products to? I have no clue how to even look that up. I live in Amish country - Wayne County, Ohio, and suspect that lotions being sold around here are not challenge tested. Having said that, I would like to challenge test mine, but as I am just getting started (to sell that is) I have no finances to support it at the cost of $1000 per recipe. Any guidance would be much appreciated!! No, I have not bought the testing kit, but I was about to,so would be really interested to know if it is a good investment or if I should save up for challenge testing instead.


Iliana Loza said...

hi, id like to know if these really work, ive made several tests now and none of these have results, im a doing it right?

Sarah Johnson said...

In my (admittedly limited) research I have formed the opinion that lab quality challenge testing should absolutely be employed for each product IF you want to sell. The main difference between a home test and a professional lab test is: a home test is just testing for any microbe that may have strayed into your creation from your home BUT a lab challenge test actually inoculates your creation with a range of microbes (a fungus, a gram-positive bacteria, a gram-negative bacteria, a-mold, etc.) and then tests whether your preservative has the ability to kill the live microbe and/or keep it from multiplying. When you sell a product you forfeit ALL control over what it will be exposed to. It is necessary, in my opinion, to put products you will sell to the public through this kind of scrutiny. I, too, am concerned with cost. I will be looking into my local universities (I have two within 15 minutes of my house another major university within an hour drive) for possible testing options and let you know if I come up with anything. Home testing looks fascinating and could be employed to test how well my personal-use products are holding up, though. -Sarah

Tracy Carlin said...

For those here in the U.S. I found this lab. Keep in mind the variety of tests that they do and what you are wanting done for documentation purposes. However, $1000 does seem outlandish for just one product but it varies widely depending upon what your testing for.

http://www.sagescript.com/microbiology

Anonymous said...

You shouldn't be paying more than $250 per preservative challenge testing.

Anonymous said...

You shouldn't be paying more than $250 per preservative challenge testing
where?