Have you ever wondered why some food or drink has made you sick? Well, microbiology testing could provide you with the answer.
Microbiological testing allows us to know the total number of microorganisms present in the food. This number is not related to the number of pathogenic microorganisms, so it cannot be used as an index of their presence and should only be considered an indicator of the food’s general hygienic characteristics.
Through microbiology testing, we can detect the presence of microorganisms and bacteria such as mesophilic aerobes, bacillus cereus, campylobacter, candida Albicans, clostridium perfringesns, etc.
The first method to be used in food analysis is that of microbiological quality assurance principles. The microbiology testing of food is not done on a preventive basis but allows us to assess the microbial load through inspection. For this reason, the microbial quality of food cannot be increased using this inspection, but what we do is to determine the points of risk of contamination of the food so that the industry can do its job.
In these cases, prevention persists in avoiding that products of low microbiological quality reach the consumer.
In microbiology testing development, a risk analysis must be carried out to determine the danger to human health of a pathogenic factor present in food and how this risk can be reduced to infinitesimal values by technological means. This risk depends on the minimum infective dose of the microorganism and its values found in the food; it is also necessary to evaluate the initial load of microorganisms in each food rations and the number of rations or parts consumed by the population in a given time.
The second phase consists of sampling and microbiological analysis of the final products for testing. It is necessary to follow a sampling scheme to obtain representative results.
The number of criteria used in judging the microbiological quality of foods should be limited to the minimum necessary to increase the number of analyses. The analytical criteria applied should be specific to each food because the pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms are different for each food type.
Microbiological criteria can be used to formulate design requirements and indicate, as appropriate, the required microbiological status of raw materials, ingredients, and finished products at any food chain stage. The criteria may be important for testing foods where raw materials and ingredients are of the unknown or unsafe origin or where no other means of testing HACCP-based systems’ effectiveness and good hygienic practices are available. Generally, microbiological criteria can be applied by regulatory agencies and/or food business operators to distinguish between acceptability and unacceptability of raw materials, ingredients, products, batches. Microbiological criteria can also be used to determine whether processes conform to the General Principles of Food Hygiene.
Data from microbiology testing indicates whether the food under examination may represent a hazard to human health, as a criterion that is significant for consumer protection, or as a result of a risk assessment.