Introducing our 2024/25 Proficiency Tests

Microbiology Proficiency Testing – Food, Beverage & Water

Product recalls and food poisoning outbreaks continue to be a major problem, due to food contaminated by intestinal pathogens.

If a pathogenic organism is present in a sample of food subjected to testing, it is imperative that the laboratory can correctly detect and identify the contamination and inform the relevant personnel to avoid the food being released for sale and potentially cause a food poisoning incident.

Even if the food or beverage is free from pathogenic organisms, it will have a microbiological specification to ensure it is of the required quality to release for sale via retail outlets or for export to different territories. Again, it is vital that the laboratory testing is accurate so that non-conforming product is not released to market, and good product is not mistakenly destroyed.

The Fapas® food and beverage microbiology programme covers a wide range of pathogens, indicator organisms, and spoilage organisms in different real food matrices, which also contain representative background flora in order to provide as realistic a challenge to laboratories as possible, by closely mimicking a real-world food sample for analysis. Food matrices include beef, chicken, fish, soft cheese, milk powder, salad, fruit juice, flour, smoked fish, infant formula, mixed vegetables, ready to eat meals, sponge swab, egg, pepper, chocolate powder, and rice.

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Water Microbiology

We are continuing our recently introduced samples for swimming pool/spa and bathing waters which are designed to test a laboratory’s ability to accurately enumerate the overall level of bacteria, and specific opportunistic pathogens which may proliferate in a pool or spa if the disinfection and filtration system is not properly controlled. Accurate enumeration of the bacterial burden of pool/spa water is key to ensure the recommended regular monitoring.

We also have samples for true pathogens which may be found in untreated recreational waters, and in pool/spa waters in the event of a faecal contamination incident. Our range also includes samples for the analysis of pathogenic parasites, Cryptosporidium and Giardia, which produce oocysts that can be resistant to the biocides used to treat water, and which may be naturally present in surface waters.

Featured Food & Water Microbiology Tests

Our test materials simulate real laboratory samples with varying levels of target pathogens, indicator microorganisms, spoilage organisms, and background flora. They support challenging, high quality and innovative proficiency tests. Food matrices include beef, chicken, fish, soft cheese, milk powder, salad, and rice. Our water microbiology schemes include Legionella and parasitology proficiency testing.

Watch our explanation of the general principles of proficiency testing

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