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 Food Microbiology  

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Microbiological tests are conducted on food, food products (e.g. meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, fruits, cereals, pasta, chocolate, cocoa, etc.) and dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream for microbiological quality, product safety and disease prevention. The Most Probable Number (MPN) method is generally used for the detection and enumeration of indicator bacteria. The Pour Plate (PP) method is used for standard (aerobic) plate count, yeast and mould count, and for detecting specific pathogens. Enrichment, plating and specialized methods are used for Salmonella, Listeria, Escherichia coli, Staphyloccocus aureus, and other specific pathogens.

There are more than 200 known diseases transmitted through food. Many of these diseases could originate at the farming and processing level. Food-borne illness can also result from temperature abuses, undercooking or cross-contamination by food services, restaurants and home preparation. Bacteria related food poisoning is the most common, but fewer than 20 of the many thousands of different bacteria actually are the culprits. More than 90 percent of the cases of food poisoning each year are caused by
Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, Campylobacter, Clostridium perfringens, Listeria monocytogenes, Bacillus cereus, And Entero-pathogenic Escherichia coli.
These bacteria are commonly found on many raw and processed foods. Normally a large number of food-poisoning bacteria must be present to cause illness. Therefore, illness can be prevented by
(1) Controlling the initial number of bacteria present,
(2) Preventing the small number of bacteria from growing,
(3) Destroying the bacteria by proper cooking
(4) Avoiding re-contamination.
Federally registered establishments must have sampling programs for Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria in order to verify that plant HACCP systems are effective in reducing contamination with these pathogenic microorganisms.
ILC Micro-Chem provides a full range of microbial and pathogen identification utilizing the latest approved Health Canada methods and as part of our value added program ILC supplies it's clients with swabs and air settlement plates for environmental monitoring. We also offer pathogen detection through rapid methods for quicker turn around times.
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