The Calgary Laboratory

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible for delivering federally mandated programs for food inspection, plant and animal health. The Agency relies on high-quality, timely and relevant science as the basis of its program design and regulatory decision-making. Scientific activities inform the Agency's understanding of risks, provide evidence for the development of mitigation measures, and confirm the effectiveness of these measures.

CFIA scientific activities include laboratory testing, research, surveillance, test method development, risk assessments and expert scientific advice. Agency scientists maintain strong partnerships with universities, federal, provincial and international counterparts, as well as industry, in order to effectively carry out the CFIA's mandate.

The Calgary Laboratory

The Calgary Laboratory focuses its testing on microbial contaminants and chemical residues in food, fertilizers and animal feeds. The laboratory is involved in research to develop faster and more sensitive tests for food-borne pathogens and chemical contaminants. The highly trained staff tests for low concentrations of contaminants using cutting-edge methods, such as DNA-based technology and sophisticated instruments to analyze the molecular mass of chemical compounds to identify them.

What we do

Diagnostic testing

  • Surveys of food to identify specific contaminants.
  • Annual food safety monitoring programs.
  • Food-borne illness outbreak investigations.
  • Consumer food safety complaints.
  • Import/export of food products.
  • Testing of food, feed, and fertilizer samples bound for legal proceedings.

Support services

  • Consult and advise operational and inspection staff at the CFIA.
  • Applied research for emerging issues in food safety and the development of fast and sensitive diagnostic assays.

Pesticide residues

  • Analysis of fruit, vegetables, fertilizers and animal feeds for over 500 pesticide residues.

Environmental contaminants

  • Analysis of animal-based foods and animal feeds for various persistent organic pollutants (substances that are toxic and accumulate in the environment and animals). Some of the substances tested for include dioxins, furans and PCBs.

Research and development

  • Develop and implement new analytical chemistry methods for food safety testing.


  • Analysis of food products and related samples for detection of disease-causing and risk-indicating micro-organisms.
  • Test for bacterial toxin genes and for the ability of food to support bacterial growth.
  • Accredited for performing all national food testing for E. coli O157:H7 and Campylobacter bacteria.

Other biological testing

  • Analysis of cooked and raw meats to confirm species identification.

Quality management

All CFIA laboratories have demonstrated conformance to ISO/IEC 17025, General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories. The Standards Council of Canada evaluates our laboratories against this international standard, as a formal verification of the CFIA's capability to produce accurate and reliable results, within our accredited scope of testing. The results are supported by the development, validation and implementation of scientific methods, conducted by highly qualified personnel, using reliable products, services, and equipment, in a quality controlled environment. Participation in international proficiency testing programs further demonstrates that our testing is comparable to laboratories across Canada and around the world.

For further information

Calgary Laboratory
3650 36th Street NW
Calgary, AB
T2L 2L1

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