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FOOD MICROBIOLOGY

Standard Panel, This panel of analysis includes:

  • APC (Aerobic Plate Count)
  • Yeasts & Mold
  • Total Coliform / E. coli
  • Staphylococcus (Coagulase +) A discounted price is available when these tests are grouped together.
  • AQSIQ Test Code: Q101
  • Sample retention time 30 days, unless highly perishable.
  • Aerobic Plate Count (APC)

  • This test results in an enumeration of the total Aerobic Bacterial population of a sample.
  • No bacterial identifications are made, however the resulting CFU (colony forming unit) can be applied to internal acceptance criteria for a product or Environmental HACCP samples.
  • This is also a useful test to gauge freshness of a product or validate sanitation procedures.
  • 50g minimum sample is recommended. Environmental surface samples can also be analyzed.
  • AQSIQ Test Code: Q102
  • Sample retention time – 30 days, unless highly perishable.
  • Yeast & Mold

  • This test is an enumeration of the total Yeast and Mold population of a sample. No identifications are made, however the resultant data can be applied to internal acceptance criteria for a product or process.
  • Both yeasts and molds cause various degrees of deterioration and decomposition of foods.
    They can invade and grow on virtually any type of food at any time; they invade crops such as grains, nuts, beans, and fruits in fields before harvesting and during storage.
    They also grow on processed foods and food mixtures. Their detectability in or on foods depends on food type, organisms involved, and degree of invasion; the contaminated food may be slightly blemished, severely blemished, or completely decomposed, with the actual growth manifested by rot spots of various sizes and colors, unsightly scabs, slime, white cottony mycelium, or highly colored sporulating mold. Abnormal flavors and odors may also be produced. Occasionally, a food appears mold-free but is found upon mycological examination to be contaminated. Contamination of foods by yeasts and molds can result in substantial economic losses to producer, processor, and consumer.

  • 50g minimum sample is recommended. Environmental surface samples can also be analyzed.
  • AQSIQ Test Code: Q103
  • Sample Retention Time – 30 days, unless highly perishable.
  • Coliforms are often referred to as “indicator organisms”. In and of themselves they are not pathogenic; however their presence in the environment can indicate that conditions are favorable for pathogens to be present. Generic E. coli is also a Coliform, but of fecal origin. The presence of generic E. coli in a sample indicates fecal contamination.
  • The Total Coliform/E. coli test is a fast inexpensive way to assess the cleanliness of an environment or food, and can also be used to glean information regarding the potential for other contamination.
  • The resulting enumerated results can be applied to internal acceptance criteria for a product or Environmental HACCP samples. This is also a useful test to gauge freshness of a product or validate sanitation procedures.
  • 50g minimum sample is recommended.
  • Environmental surface samples can also be analyzed.
  • AQSIQ Test Code: Q104
  • Sample retention time – 30 days, unless highly perishable.
  • Also referred to as Coagulase Positive Staphylococcus.
  • Foods that are frequently incriminated in staphylococcal food poisoning include meat and meat products; poultry and egg products; salads such as egg, tuna, chicken, potato, and macaroni; bakery products such as cream-filled pastries, cream pies, and chocolate eclairs; sandwich fillings; and milk and dairy products.
  • Foods that require considerable handling during preparation and that are kept at slightly elevated temperatures after preparation are frequently involved in staphylococcal food poisoning.
  • Staphylococci exist in air, dust, sewage, water, milk, and food or on food equipment, environmental surfaces, humans, and animals. Humans and animals are the primary reservoirs.
  • Although food handlers are usually the main source of food contamination in food poisoning outbreaks, equipment and environmental surfaces can also be sources of contamination with S. aureus. Human intoxication is caused by ingesting enterotoxins produced in food by some strains of S. aureus, usually because the food has not been kept hot enough (60°C, 140°F, or above) or cold enough (7.2°C, 45°F, or below). Therefore, this is a good test to indicate temperature abuse of selected food products.
  • 50g minimum sample is recommended. Environmental surface samples can also be analyzed.
  • AQSIQ Test Code: Q105
  • Sample retention time – 30 days, unless highly perishable.
  • Salmonella (Presence / Absence)

    There is a widespread occurrence of Salmonella in animals, especially in poultry and swine. Environmental sources of the organism include water, soil, insects, factory surfaces, kitchen surfaces, animal feces, raw meats, raw poultry, and raw seafoods, to name only a few. Raw meats, poultry, eggs, milk and dairy products, fish, shrimp, frog legs, yeast, coconut, sauces and salad dressings, cake mixes, cream-filled desserts and toppings, dried gelatin, peanut butter, cocoa, and chocolate are foods that have been associated with Salmonella outbreaks.

    All age groups are susceptible, but symptoms are most severe in the elderly, infants, and the infirm. AIDS patients suffer salmonellosis frequently (estimated 20-fold more than general population) and suffer from recurrent episodes. This method detects the Presence or Absence of the bacterium. A confirmation charge may be incurred in cases of Presumptive Positive screens.

  • 50g minimum sample is recommended.
  • Environmental surface samples can also be analyzed.
  • AQSIQ Test Code: Q106
  • Sample retention time – 30 days, unless highly perishable.
  • Listeria (Presence/Absence)

  • Listeria is an organism that is ubiquitous in the environment. Unlike some other food related pathogens, it is not disseminated from animals. For high risk populations (the very old, the very young, pregnant and immunocompromised) a very little amount of Listeria in food can be highly dangerous. Listeria monocytogenes is the most pathogenic of the species.
  • L. monocytogenes has been associated with such foods as raw milk, supposedly pasteurized fluid milk, cheeses (particularly soft-ripened varieties), ice cream, raw vegetables, fermented raw-meat sausages, raw and cooked poultry, raw meats (all types), and raw and smoked fish. Its ability to grow at temperatures as low as 3°C permits multiplication in refrigerated foods.
  • This method detects the Presence or Absence of the bacterium. A confirmation charge may be incurred in cases of Presumptive Positive screens.
  • 50g minimum sample is recommended.
  • AQSIQ Test Code: Q107
  • Sample retention time – 30 days, unless highly perishable.
  • E. coli O157:H7 (Presence / Absence)

    E. coli O157:H7 is one of the most pathogenic strains of E. coli. Undercooked or raw hamburger (ground beef) has been implicated in many of the documented outbreaks, however E. coli O157:H7 outbreaks have also originated from contaminated alfalfa sprouts, unpasteurized fruit juices, dry-cured salami, lettuce, game meat, and cheese curds.

  • This method detects the Presence or Absence of the bacterium. A confirmation charge may be incurred in cases of Presumptive Positive screens.
  • 50g minimum sample is recommended.
  • Environmental surface samples can also be analyzed.
  • AQSIQ Test Code: Q108
  • Sample retention time – 30 days, unless highly perishable.
  • Pathogen Confirmation

    In the event of a presumptive positive following the initial pathogen screen the client will have the choice to confirm the pathogen, or decline pathogen confirmation, in which case a result of “Presumptive Positive” will be reported.

  • Previous specific pathogen screen analysis required.
  • AQSIQ Test Code: Q109
  • Sample retention time – 30 days, unless highly perishable.
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa

    Typically associated with pharmaceutical testing, Pseudomonas aeruginosa analysis can also be utilized for specialty food products and cross over industries.

  • 50g minimum sample is recommended. Environmental surface samples can also be analyzed.
  • AQSIQ Test Code: Q110
  • Sample retention time – 30 days, unless highly perishable.
  • Enterobacteriaceae

    A taxonomically defined family, Enterobacteriaceae, is comprised of several Gensus’ of bacteria including: Citrobacter, Enterobacter, Erwinia, Escherichia, Klebsiella, Proteus, Salmonella, Shigella, and Yersinia. This group has been used for years in Europe as indicators of food quality and as indices of food safety.

  • The practice is also being adopted in the United States.
  • 50g minimum sample is recommended. Environmental surface samples can also be analyzed.
  • AQSIQ Test Code: Q111
  • Sample retention time – 30 days, unless highly perishable.
  • Campylobacter (Presence / Absence)

    Campylobacter species are carried in the intestinal tracts of warm-blooded animals and, therefore, contaminate foods of animal origin. Because these organisms are recognized causes of human diarrheal disease, and because eating foods of animal origin has been associated with may of these illnesses, the presence of any the organism in food represents a potential hazard to human health.

  • 50g minimum sample is recommended. Environmental surface samples can also be analyzed
  • AQSIQ Test Code: Q112
  • Sample retention time – 30 days, unless highly perishable.
  • Bacillus cereus

    Bacillus cereus has ubiquitous distribution in the environment and can be isolated from a variety of processed and raw foods. However, its presence in foods is not a significant health threat unless it is able to grow. Consumption of food containing more than 105 viable cells / g has resulted in outbreaks of food borne illness.

    Foods frequently incriminated include: boiled and fried rice, cooked pasta, cooked meats, cooked vegetables, soups, salads, puddings and vegetable sprouts.

  • 50g minimum sample is recommended. Environmental surface samples can also be analyzed.
  • AQSIQ Test Code: Q121
  • Sample retention time – 30 days, unless highly perishable.
  • Anaerobic Plate Count

    This test should be requested when the normal flora of the sample in question thrive under anaerobic (oxygen void) conditions. Similar in principle to Aerobic Plate Count, Anaerobic Plate Count is useful to determine the overall anaerobic bacterial population of a sample.

  • Enumerated analysis only, identifications not performed.
  • 50g minimum sample is recommended. Environmental surface samples can also be analyzed.
  • AQSIQ Test Code: Q115
  • Sample retention time – 30 days, unless highly perishable.
  • Aerobic Spore Former Count

    Members of the mesophilic aerobic sporeformers of significance in the spoilage of food belong, typically, to the genera Bacillus and Sporolactobacillus.

    The species encountered in foods are generally widespread. Spores and also vegetative cells of mesophilic aerobic spore-formers are found in food, water, soil, and decomposing vegetation.

  • 50g minimum sample is recommended. Environmental surface samples can also be analyzed.
  • AQSIQ Test Code: Q116
  • Sample retention time – 30 days, unless highly perishable.
  • Lactic Acid Bacteria Count

    Acid-producing microorganisms are ubiquitous in nature and associated with many raw and processed food products. One of the most industrially important groups of acid-producing bacteria is the lactic acid bacteria.

    Depending on the food type and application Lactic Acid bacteria can be considered a beneficial organism or a spoilage organism. Lactic Acid Bacteria Counts will give an overall level of this group of bacteria in a given product or sample.

  • 50g minimum sample is recommended. Environmental surface samples can also be analyzed.
  • AQSIQ Test Code: Q123
  • Sample retention time – 30 days, unless highly perishable.
  • Lactobacillus species Count

    Primarily a concern in the dairy industry, Lactobacillus species are among the thermoduric bacteria that are in the initial microflora of freshly pasteurized milk. This organism is also frequently used as a starter culture for products such as yogurt and cheese.

  • 50g minimum sample is recommended. Environmental surface samples can also be analyzed.
  • AQSIQ Test Code: Q124
  • Sample retention time – 30 days, unless highly perishable.
  • Isolate Identification – Bacterial

  • AQSIQ Laboratory can identify a wide range of unknown bacterial isolates to the species level. Please inquire.
  • Isolated bacterial strain from a previous analysis required.
  • AQSIQ Test Code: Q113
  • Sample retention time – 30 days, unless highly perishable.
  • Isolate Identification – Fungal

  • AQSIQ Laboratory can identify a wide range of unknown fungal isolates to the species level. Please inquire. Isolated fungal strain from a previous analysis required.
  • AQSIQ Test Code: Q114
  • Sample retention time – 30 days, unless highly perishable.
  • Canner’s Test

  • A set of tests recommended by the Food Products Association formerly the National Canner’s Association to assess the microbial load of the unique organisms that are problematic to the canning industry. Finished product and raw ingredients can be analyzed.
  • Organisms such as Thermophilic Spore Formers, Aerobic and Anaerobic Mesophilic Spore Formers, Aciduric Spore Formers and Sulfide-Reducing Spore Formers can be screened for or enumerated.
  • Test Includes Total Thermophilic Aerobic & Flat Sour Spore count, H2S + Thermo Anaerobic Spore Count, H2S – Thermo Anaerobic Spore count.
  • AQSIQ Test Code: Q120
  • Sample retention time – 30 days, unless highly perishable.
  • Shigella spp by qPCR and Culture

  • Shigella spp are not indigenous to any food. Contamination of foods is primarily due to the poor personal hygiene of food handlers. Foods commonly found to be associated with food borne outbreaks caused by this organism are potato salads, chicken and shellfish.
  • Establishments identified as outbreak sources include: homes, schools, restaurants, airlines, schools, nursing homes and military mess halls. Since Shigella and E. coli are closely related genetically, the discrimination of these microbes is essential for proper identification.
  • Application of DNA-based assays such as PCR is useful in the accurate detection of the presence of Shigella spp in foods.
  • 50g minimum sample is recommended. Environmental surface samples can also be analyzed. EMSL
  • AQSIQ Code: Q122
  • Sample retention time – 30 days, unless highly perishable.
  • Anaerobic Spore Former Count

    Mesophilic sporeformers all belong to the Genus Clostridium. There are two main classifications: Proteolytic and Non-proteolytic anaerobes. If counts need to be expressed solely on the basis of spores present the lab must be notified (vegetative cells must be destroyed prior to enumeration).

  • 50g minimum sample is recommended. Environmental surface samples can also be analyzed.
  • AQSIQ Test Code: Q117
  • Sample retention time – 30 days, unless highly perishable.
  • Thermophilic Aerobic Spore Former Count

    Low Acid foods may spoil during storage above 43oC because of growth of extremely heat-resistant sporeforming Thermophilic microorganisms. Most of these bacteria grow at 55oC.

    Flat Sour spoilage is indicated when the container is not swollen, but the pH is significantly lowered. The causative organisms are aerobic (oxygen loving) Thermophilic Sporeformers.

  • 50g minimum sample is recommended. Environmental surface samples can also be analyzed.
  • AQSIQ Test Code: Q118
  • Sample retention time – 30 days, unless highly perishable.
  • Thermophilic Anaerobic Spore Former Count

    Low Acid foods may spoil during storage above 43oC because of growth of extremely heat-resistant sporeforming Thermophilic microorganisms. Most of these bacteria grow at 55oC.”

    Thermophilic Anaerobe” (TA) spoilage is characterized by swelling and even bursting of the container. Sulfide Spoilage is characterized by a flat container in which the contents are darkened and have the odor of rotten eggs. Both conditions are caused by various species of Thermophilic anaerobic Sporeformers.

  • 50g minimum sample is recommended. Environmental surface samples can also be analyzed.
  • AQSIQ Test Code: Q119
  • Sample retention time – 30 days, unless highly perishable.