Schools Training

Chemical Checking: Similarities in Pharmaceutical Quality Assurance and Food Safety

10 DEC 2012
Career Path : Food Safety and Quality

Though there are specialized programs available for food quality training and pharmaceutical quality assurance, the principles of these fields remain similar. Medicine and cooking may seem worlds apart, but both depend on the consistent application of principles in chemistry and ingredient measurements. Furthermore, with the sterile and mechanized techniques involved in large scale food production, the functional differences between manufacturing apple pie and aspirin are increasingly eliminated. Though food production does not require the same level of government mandated tests and retests, food companies have profit driven incentive to experiment with new products on consumers with almost the same rigor and scientific approach.

Both pharmaceutical and food quality training prepare graduates for every stage, from product development to consumer consumption. Whether in a food lab or a drug lab, taking samples from a huge vat of flour belonging to a major bakery brand or a minute amounts of a powerful new SSRI, or simply being part of a regulatory body checking in on a pharmacy or restaurant, testers need to know if products are coming out consistently and what is going into them, and use very similar means to find out.

Some Methods Used In Quality Control:

Levy-Jenning Charts: Standard since the 1950s, this tracking method is an essential part of laboratory quality control. It allows scientists to make an ongoing visual representation of the success and progress of experimentation.

Animal Testing: Samples administered to animals in a laboratory setting allow scientists to measure effectiveness of drugs, unpredicted This is an unavoidable part of developing new drugs, but a less likely component of food production, except in testing the ingredients that go into synthetic

High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC):  Using mechanical pressure and heat, this purifying method allows for measuring exact quantities and chemical content in substance. Less popular methods use the pressure of gravity for similar results over a more lengthy time period, but HPLC courses have become a basic part of many chemistry programs.

Weighing and Measuring: Though this is the most old-fashioned method of quality control, this still remains a part of even the most advanced pharmaceutical quality assurance and food quality control. Every pharmacy student and cook becomes an expert in measurement, and simply observing and manually weighing and taking the physical dimensions of products in different stages of completeness can give insight into issue. For example if candies or pills are coming out with wildly different sizes, this points to a serious problem that may be anything from faulty temperature control to improper mixing.

Because methods of quality control can be so similar, this also means that training may be somewhat interchangeable. Graduates of pharmacy or food quality training programs can find themselves employed in each other’s fields or a chemistry compatible alternative, such as in cleaning supplies, cosmetics or even non-specific materials.

Visit the Academy of Applied Pharmaceutical Sciences (AAPS) Inc. for more information on HPLC courses.