Phil Trefsgar, Laboratory Director
123 Ballard Court
West Columbia, SC 29172
Laboratory Services protects consumers from unsafe, ineffective, or fraudulent goods which may be offered for public sale; assures that goods meet acceptable standards of quality; and issues registrations, licenses, and permits to certain businesses.
The Division staffs four laboratory sections that analyze various products* utilizing chemical, biological, and physical qualitative and quantitative methods and procedures to assure that products meet acceptable standards of quality and standards of identity.
Food/Feed Laboratory: *Ground meat products, cereal grain products, frozen desserts, animal feeds, pet foods and grains.
Seed Laboratory: *Garden seeds, crop seeds, grass seeds and grain seeds.
Chemical Residue Laboratory: *Fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables.
Petroleum Products Laboratory: *Gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel, home heating fuel and anti-freeze/summer
The Laboratory also registers animal and pet foods, gasoline, and antifreeze; issues licenses for frozen desserts, butterfat testers and milk samplers and weighmen. Fourteen thousand (14,000) licenses, permits, and registrations are granted each year.
Chemical Residue Lab
Chemical Residue Lab analyzes fruit and vegetable samples from supermarkets and farmers markets statewide to detect any possible chemical adulterants or pesticide residues that exceed tolerance level are present. To comply with Food Safety Laws, the Department conducts a Market Basket Survey. This activity involves collecting samples of individual lots of domestically produced and imported foods as close as possible to their point-of-entry into the distribution system.When illegal pesticide residues are found, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or SCDA can impose various sanctions, including seizure of the commodity or injunction.
Feed Lab performs chemical and microscopic analyses to ensure feed products are safe and effective for their intended purposes. Consumer complaints are investigated when purchasers receive feed they believe does not conform to guarantees and/or causes harm to their animals. The South Carolina Commercial Feed Law regulates the manufacture and distribution of commercial feed within the state. It mandates annual registration of commercial feed and pet food distributed in the state.
Food Lab analyzes certain foods like ground meat products, frozen desserts, and cereal grain products to test for things like fat content, preservatives, extenders, butterfat content, weight per gallon, vitamins, minerals, and filth or contamination. Random samples are collected from retail outlets across the state to ensure that products meet label guarantees and standards of identity.
Petroleum Lab analyzes gasoline and diesel fuel products to verify quality and safety. Random samples are collected from gas pumps across the state during routine inspections for analysis. The lab conducts between 22,000 and 25,000 analyses per year. Samples are also collected when consumers file a complaint.
Seed Lab conducts germination and purity testing for citizens, farmers, businesses, and wholesalers as prescribed by the South Carolina Seed Law, Seed Regulations, and the Noxious Weed Act. The South Carolina Seed Law requires seed to be tested and meet specific standards before it can be sold. The law also requires anyone wishing to sell seed in South Carolina to be licensed through SCDA Consumer Protection Division. Information regarding the sale of seed can be found in the South Carolina Seed Law and application for sale of seed can be found at South Carolina Seed License Application.
Special testing such as Round-up Ready, Seed Count per Pound, and Accelerated Aging are also offered.
The lab does germination and purity testing for the SC Seed Certification Program which falls under the Department of Plant Industry at Clemson University. Seed lots are required to meet rigid standards for germination and purity based on laboratory analyses conducted by the SCDA Seed Laboratory.
The Seed Lab analysts are a member of the Association of Official Seed Analysts (AOSA) and the Association of American Seed Control Officials (AASCO).