Providing flexible, reliable and personalised testing services to the food and natural products sectors in Aotearoa New Zealand

Two laboratory technicians with samples on desk

Cawthron Laboratories have provided trusted laboratory testing services to Aotearoa New Zealand’s food and natural products sector for over 40 years, helping our customers meet food safety and export requirements. We deliver cost-effective analytical solutions so that products can be released to market in a timely fashion with confidence.

Our fully accredited labs and specialist research development teams, based at facilities in Whakatū Nelson and Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, meet each customer’s unique needs. We provide tailored testing services with flexible, wrap-around administrative and technical support. The whole team, from our customer service staff to laboratory technicians, are committed to understanding your business.

Food Testing and Product Analysis

Cawthron Laboratories provide an array of testing services spanning dairy and micronutrients, toxins, food safety and certification, microalgae analysis, natural products and supplements, shelf life and stability trials.

Food Composition

We provide comprehensive food chemistry and microbiological testing services to manufacturing sectors, including food, seafood, dairy and nutraceuticals. We deliver:

  • nutritional information panels, proximate, vitamins, rancidity and trace elements testing
  • IgG, lactoferrin, sialic acid and nucleotides
  • product shelf-life, plant hygiene and environmental testing

Natural Products and Dietary Supplements

We offer extensive chemistry and microbiological testing capabilities for raw materials, intermediates and finished products (complimentary medicines). We deliver:

  • full monographed pharmacopoeias (BP, USP, FCC, JP and CP) and customer supplied methods
  • herbal identifications
  • stability trial testing
  • complete microbiological services for product and preservative efficacy, plant hygiene and environmental compliance testing.
Laboratory technician views test results on a screen

Challenge Testing

Challenge testing is a procedure by which a food product is challenged by exposure to specific types of bacteria or fungi to determine the efficacy of the preservative incorporated into the product. This includes regular testing throughout the shelf life or other predetermined time period. Other variables such as increased temperature or humidity can be applied to the testing regime. We can offer:

  • Growth inhibition studies to evaluate the ability of a food product to inhibit organisms under certain storage conditions
  • Inactivation studies to determine if a food product formulation is capable of reducing the target organism to an appropriate level
  • Combination studies to determine if a food product is capable of inactivating pathogenic organisms in addition to inhibiting the growth of other organisms

Submit a sample

To submit a sample, download a submission form from the list, fill it in and email it to Please send a printed copy of the form with your sample and dispatch to Cawthron Laboratories, Sample Reception, 98 Halifax Street East, Nelson, 7010. By submitting a sample for testing, you are agreeing to abide by our Terms and Conditions.

If you are a new customer, please contact us before you submit a sample for a quote and payment arrangements.

For biotoxin testing, please contact us for a sample submission form and to discuss requirements.

To place a bottle/consumable order with our team, please fill in the Consumables Order Form and email to

Working with us


Our accreditations include:

  • IANZ
  • Medsafe for GMP

We are also recognised by MPI for RLP and TGA recognised for Medsafe accredited GMP testing. View all accreditation certificates and our terms and conditions here.

Technical Support

We offer direct access to technical staff with subject matter expertise for advice and support as part of our routine testing services. This support helps you to maintain oversight and find flexible solutions that meet your business needs.

Our standard turn-around times are as follows, however we regularly adapt these timeframes to meet the unique requirements and needs of our customers:

  • Microbiology 5-7 days
  • Food Chemistry/Trace 5-7 working days (Mon-Fri)
  • GMP 10 working days (Mon-Fri) 
  • Biotoxin – Shellfish 2-4 working days (Mon-Fri)
  • Biotoxin – Freshwater 5 working days (Mon-Fri)
  • Phyto – Marine 1 working day (Mon-Fri)
  • Phyto – Freshwater 5 working days (Mon-Fri)
  • Chlorophyll a & AFDW – 10 working days (Mon-Fri)
Laboratory technician watches sample being analysed in machine


Cawthron Laboratories has two fully accredited lab facilities in Aotearoa New Zealand – one in Whakatū Nelson, and one in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland – allowing us to provide a full spectrum of testing services to customers in any part of the country, with prompt turn-around times for results.

Research and Method Development

Our laboratory staff work closely with Cawthron’s dedicated Research & Development team to develop customised analytical solutions to support product development and to validate nutritional content for the food and natural products sector.

Our approach to method development is both flexible and practical, enabling our customers to respond quickly to changing market environments.

Contact us


+64 3 548 2839


98 Halifax Street East
Nelson 7010, New Zealand