Laboratory of Food and Environmental Investigations is the largest structural unit of the Institute. The laboratory ensures the fulfilment of a wide range of functions and works in the following areas:
- making analysis of food products, animal feed, water and other objects on the basis of orders received from state institutions, companies and individuals;
- ensuring the function of reference in cooperation with the reference laboratories in Europe and by coordinating the activities of regional structural units of the Institute and other laboratories involved in food circulation;
- performing research in the area of food and environmental science;
- training of personnel in the matters regarding laboratory examinations, taking samples, laboratory quality systems and food legislation;
- preparation of microbiological culture mediums for the laboratories of the Institute and other laboratories;
- preparation of milk samples for the calibration of equipment intended for milk processing companies and laboratories dealing with pedigree matters;
- taking samples from food products and water for laboratory analysis on the basis of orders received from laboratory customers.
Elemental Analysis Division
The Elemental analysis division provide water (drinking, surface, ground, mineral and industrial water) and wastewater testing, as well as the determination of various chemical elements such as lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic, etc. in food and feed samples. The Laboratory has the expertise and regular equipment to test pH, electrical conductivity, color, turbidity, nitrite and nitrates, borates, fluorides and bromates. Since 2009, the clients have opportunity to test waste samples for BOD5, COD, content of ammonium, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, phosphates, nitrates and nitrites. The Elemental analysis division have standard laboratory equipment (spectrometers, muffle furnaces, scales, etc.) and also modern technologies as TOC analyzer (FormacsSeries Combustion TOC/TN Analyzer), atomic absorption spectrometer AA-6650, and liquid chromatograph (Waters 2795 with the Waters 432 detector). The well proven technique Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer Agilent 7700x is used for heavy metals determination in food and feed samples, environment (soils, sediments etc.) and scientific samples. Laboratory experts have expertise in determination of radionuclides as Am-241; -133; Cs-134; Cs-137; Eu-152; Eu-154, Eu-155; I-133; K-40; Ra-226; Ru-103; Ru-106; Th-232 in food and feed using gamma spectrometer BSI GS-02-97. And also, the use of the liquid scintillation spectrometer Quantulus 1220 allows to determine Sr-90.
The Chemistry Division deals with physical-chemical and chemical testing of food products, raw materials of food products, animal feed and water, as well as with sensory (organoleptic) evaluation of food products. The Chemistry Division makes tests on the basis of which it is possible to evaluate the quality of water (drinking water, swimming water, sewage water) as well as the quality of milk and dairy products, meat and meat products, fish and fish products, fruit, vegetables, fats, drinks, grain, flour, bread, sweet pastry, and fodder.
The employees of the Microbiology Division perform microbiological testing of water, food products, cosmetics and environmental samples. The Division has the widest range of accredited microbiological methods for food testing in Latvia.
The Parasitology Division performs wide spectrum of parasitological examinations of food products and veterinary samples. The Division has the widest range of accredited methods for parasitological testing of food products and for making veterinary examinations in Latvia.
Experts of the Division provide consultations in the area of food quality and parasitology as well as conduct training for the employees of governmental structures and other interested persons.
Liquid Chromatography Division
The Liquid Chromatography Division makes chromatographic analysis of food, environmental and biological samples by using various types of traditional detection systems (refractometry, conductivity, fluorescence, ultra-violet lights, etc.). The Liquid Chromatography Division also uses the following systems of mass spectrometry: tandem mass spectrometry, high resolution mass spectrometry and hybrid mass spectrometry (for example Orbitrap).
Gas Chromatography Division
The Gas Chromatography Division combines the possibilities of modern instrumental analysis with excellent experience when testing various types of food products, animal feed and environmental objects. Analytical methods, which have been accredited in accordance with ISO/IEC 17025, permit to perform the analysis of lasting organic pollutants (for example dioxins and PHB), pesticides, benzopirene and other harmful substances in ultra-low concentrations.