a reply to: Cloudbuster
You ask why it takes so long to do the testing necessary to establish the presence, or lack thereof, of contaminants in the food...
Much like blood testing, genetic testing, and so on, the tests necessary to locate and identify a contaminant are not usually all that time intensive
in and of themselves.
However, what you have to understand is that most countries have too few lab technicians, and too many samples coming in at any one moment in time.
In nations where one has to pay for higher education, the problem is even worse, because the number of people employed in the field is affected, not
only by the limitations placed upon staffing by how many folk in the nation are CAPABLE of passing the qualifications and learning the subject well
enough to work in the field, but how many people can afford to study the field in depth in the first place.
So what tends to happen, is that the sample is taken, and in the best case scenario, sent a few floors up from the place it was recovered from the
patient, put in cold storage, and only when its turn comes (and there are certain priority classifications involved I would imagine), will the sample
actually be run through the gamut of tests that are necessary to establish the presence of contaminants and identify them. Its rarely the actual test
that takes the bulk of the time, but more often waiting for the queue of samples which arrived beforehand, to be processed, so that the sample you are
interested in can be run.
In the worst case scenario, that sample may have to be sent outside the establishment which recovered the sample, traveling from a hospital, to an
external, possibly privately run laboratory, extending the time taken to actually get the sample into a queue by the transit time required to move the
sample from A to B. This necessarily adds time to the total required to get the result into the hands of those who require it.
Then you have my favourite part, and by that I mean the part which I do not accept the existence of, the part which needs removing from as many
places within chains of communication as is physically possible. Administration.
Results are usually proffered to the patient on paper, or discussed with them by their doctor. But in either case, doctors do not receive a call from
the lab techs about each and every sample that crosses their workstation. They compile the results, they will be printed out in some administrative
office, get signed off to be sent to the physician or in some cases the patient, and begin to move through the physical mail system. These systems
are rarely the fastest thing in the world, and unless the situation is such that a failure to IMMEDIATELY alert either patient or physician of the
result, could lead to a pandemic outbreak of disease, the slow and steady mail system is usually relied upon, despite the incredible urgency of ANY
medical test, from the perspective of the patient. If the patient is medically aware, and received their results direct (not common as far as I
understand) from the laboratory which processed their sample, then thats one step removed from the process. But in many hospitals, even getting a
result from the lab, down to the office of the doctor dealing with a patient is not what I would call a fast process, and that leaves alone the
necessity of that information to potentially travel out to a clinic which is not part of a hospital, but a surgery out in the sticks.
And even if a given hospital has taken it into their heads to send electronic data instead of snail mail, you have to consider the case load of a
given practitioner, especially if they are in the chain between patient and laboratory, because they will be getting reports on everyone they are
responsible for the health of, leading to an exhaustive amount of mail coming in on any given day. Administratively, there are so many layers and
figures and people in the chain which fires this information from lab to patient, that its little wonder its slower than a penny falling flat first
through three feet of molasses.