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TEST FOR 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.

Total Coliforms & E. coli

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.

Staphylococcus aureus

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 éclairs; 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.
Environmental surface samples can also be analyzed. Listeria can be speciated upon request.
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. Raw
milk was the vehicle in a school outbreak in Canada.
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 (Corporate NJ lab only)

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.

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