Kumud Kushwaha holds master’s degree in microbiology and is currently leading regulatory management for food & beverage at Merck Life Science supporting advocacy & surveillance for APAC countries. With over 14 years of experience involving manufacturing & corporate roles in various food companies. Prior to working with Merck, was responsible for set up of greenfield lab project (1.4 MM USD) involving designing to operation (QMS) followed by Operational Excellence in laboratory for Mars International. Also worked as Microbiologist Subject Matter Expert with Coca- Cola India & Pepsi Foods, where she was responsible for conducting capability enhancement programs for microbiologists like global microbiology training, troubleshooting along with microbiology risk assessment programs to curb microbial spoilage & low-cost proficiency testing programs for INSWA regions. She is also member of FSSAI Method Review Group.
Journey to an ideal food testing lab
When an analyst starts working in a laboratory, usually their lab becomes their world. When this statement is seen in a positive light, one can understand the depth of influence an environment and surrounding has on the analyst. The first thing comes on the mind of the analyst when he/she is going under an induction program is the lab design whether it is spacious or cramped. Lab design is very critical for an analyst because he/she will spend minimum of 8 hours of their valuable life in the lab.
When I started working in 2005, I was exposed to spacious well designed and equipped 2500 sq. feet cosmetic testing lab and suddenly with change of course in my career started working in 150 sq. feet beverage testing lab. And thankfully one point of my career was given the opportunity to spear head team to design an ideal lab.
Over the last decades we have seen emergence of ISO 17025 and its influence on testing laboratories. Lab process are getting more streamlined with regulations playing an important role. Thus, changing our whole outlook towards food lab and no longer differentiating between pharma lab and food testing lab. In this 30-minute talk I would like to share my experience along with challenges faced during my journey of building food testing lab and microbiology lab for FSSAI.