What is TestSharing?
TestSharing is a database and crowdfunding platform for consumer requested food testing. It's your new mobile tool to find out what is really in your favorite food!
Is TestSharing free?
Yes! Both downloading and user registration are free of charge! While using TestSharing you choose if and how much you want to contribute to fund a test.
How can TestSharing help me make healthier food choices?
Healthy food has various aspects and choosing a well-balanced and tasty diet remains up to you! TestSharing helps you find out about harmful chemicals like pesticides and heavy metals by making lab tests affordable and easy to order for everyone. Check your food beyond the label and rely on your own results instead of brand promises!
Who performs the tests for TestSharing?
TestSharing only works with certified, professional laboratories. All test reports you receive from TestSharing contain original lab results as well as our evaluation and health impact information.
Aren't all products already controlled?
Professional lab tests are expensive and time consuming. Governmental control bodies do perform occasional product safety tests to ensure public safety, but unfortunately food safety violations and scandals still occur. Producers and distributors also have their own quality control strategies. It depends on their budget and priorities how many tests they perform. We also need to point out that certain food safety regulations are not up to date and many toxins are not regulated at all.
How do I know what to test for?
TestSharing was developed with experienced food scientists and chemists to give you access to the best up-to date food tests. We selected the most relevant risks in each food product to give you most valuable results. All you have to do is select a product and read our test suggestion!
How long is a test result valid and how representative is it?
The test result is valid as long as the producer of the tested product keeps the same standards and processes. This can vary, so we cannot give a general validity date. Our reports are kept in the database for 2 years, then removed. A test result always refers to a particular sample and doesn't represent the whole batch.
How fast is TestSharing?
You will have instant access to completed tests in our database or can submit a product to start a new test. New report results are available within 3 weeks!
How to get started?
To start using TestSharing, all you need is a smart phone. The TestSharing app is available on Android and iOS platforms and is free to download.
How can I pay for the tests I want to fund? And what happens if a test doesn't get enough funding?
You can use paypal or apple pay for payment. If a test doesn't get enough funding, you get your money back as TestSharing credits to your account and can use them for other tests anytime.
How does the sampling work?
As initiator of a new test request you define the day you want the test to start. As soon as the test is fully funded, you receive sampling instructions per email. Sampling means to purchase about 200g of the product, pack and mail it to the lab according to the instructions. If you prefer full service, choose TestSharing to do the sampling for you. So far, TestSharing sampling is available in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
FAQs About Our Reports
What does AOAC 2007.01 mean?
AOAC 2007.01 is a widely accepted standardized testing technique used to test for a wide range of pesticides in fruits, vegetables, leafy salad crops and other foods. There is an extraction method followed by a cleanup method to remove sugars, lipids and other organic natural components from the sample. The samples are extracted and partitioned using an organic solvent and salt solution., Next, “GC” (gas chromatography), and “LC” (liquid chromatography) are used to separate the various chemicals.
What does GC/LC mean?
Both GC and LC are highly sophisticated and expensive analytical tools used in analytical chemistry. Finally “MS” (which stands for mass spectrometry) is the technique used to separate the chemicals further mass (weight). A detector is used and the chemicals are identified.
What does ICP-MS mean?
Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) is a type of mass spectrometry which is capable of detecting metals and several non-metals at concentrations as low as one part in 1015 (part per quadrillion, ppq) on non-interfered low-background isotopes. This is achieved by ionizing the sample with inductively coupled plasma and then using a mass spectrometer to separate and quantify those ions.
What does the MRL Mean?
MRL means” Maximum Residual Limit”, and is the maximum amount of chemical residue allowed to be in a food.
This level is decided by food safety authorities in each country.
These levels are based on Good Agricultural Practice. If food producers adherestick to pesticide use guidelines and then assess for safety based on the maximum daily intake of the food and toxicity data(reference), the amounts of these chemicals found in food should not be more than the MR. Anything below the MRL should be a very small amount of pesticide and therefore should not be a concern to human health, according to the authorities.
How are MRLs set?
Pesticide companies, or registrants, must submit a wide variety of scientific studies for review before EPA will set a tolerance(reference).
What does the Concern Index mean?
Looking at the numbers on a test report can be confusing, so at TestSharing we have made things simpler for you. The scientists at TestSharing have created an algorithm to take those confusing results, and give you an easy to understand 1-100 scale. At a glance you can understand how contaminated the food is; 1 would inidicate little to no contamination and 100 would indicate higher toxicity and a potential danger to your health. Therefore the higher the number, the more contaminated it is, and more concerning to human health.
What are the “allowed levels” for heavy metals based on in your reports?
The allowed levels are based on either EU law or where there is no law for the food in question, we look at recommendations made by the EFSA. In the cases of recommendations the figure is an “ADI” (see “What does ADI mean?”) which is a daily dose amount, and also depends on body weight. That means larger people can handle more of the contaminant, and smaller people less. It also depends on the amount eaten. If more of a food is eaten (staple foods like rice and potatoes for example) then less contaminants per kg of that food would be acceptable. If less of a food is eaten (sweeteners or seasoning for example) then it may be acceptable to have higher amounts of a contaminant in it. So in a more perfect calculation, “allowed levels” would take into account any individual’s body weight and the exact amount that they ate, which can certainly be calculated, but would not give an overall contaminant level rating for the food. That is what consumers need as guidance on whether a food is safe or not.
What does ADI mean?
The ADI stands for the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI). For pesticide residues and food contaminants, ADI may also be called Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI).(reference)
The unit of ADI for a chemical substance is mg/kg bw/d or mg/kg bw. It means xxx mg per kg body weight per day or mg per kg body weight.(reference)
The ADI is normally derived from the lowest no observed adverse effect level (NOAEL) determined from long-term animal (in vivo) studies. The ADI is calculated by applying a safety or uncertainty factor, which is commonly 100, to the NOAEL obtained from the most sensitive test species.(reference)
ADI = Long-term NOAEL (lowest value)/100 (reference)
Why are there ANY chemical contaminants in my food?
Pesticides are a part of the way that we produce food in the modern world because they are beneficial to food production. Their use is allowed but government authorities set maximum allowable limits that can be present in our food. I.e., there is a certain amount of each chemical that the authorities will allow to be present in our foods, and under those amounts it is considered safe.
What’s a carcinogen?
A chemical or agent that causes cancer.