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How good is your microbiology laboratory?

How good is your microbiology laboratory?

Our newly upgraded Proficiency Scheme will tell you.

Download the Microbiology proficiency scheme information and registration form (PDF).

In the food industry, major decisions are made on the basis of analytical results. But how do you know if results are valid? The answer is to compare them with a sample containing a known number of microorganisms, as Fiona Cawkell, manager of Campden BRI's relaunched Microbiology Proficiency Scheme, explains:

"The Campden Microbiology Proficiency Scheme is designed to allow laboratories to measure their performance in terms of how accurately they can recover and record known levels of microorganisms. It also allows them to compare their results against those of other laboratories. A freeze-dried sample is sent to all laboratories in the scheme with the simple instruction to detect or enumerate the microorganisms it contains.The laboratory can use whatever methods it likes and be as specific or generic as it wishes in what results it reports.

The laboratory then sends the results back to us to collate and statistically analyse. Individual laboratories can see all of the results anonymously, and are told which results are from their own analyses. Some laboratories may only want to report on total count (TVC), for example, whereas others may analyse for specific groups of organisms. Depending on the laboratories´ needs, the sample may contain a mixture of pathogens and spoilage organisms, or merely a spoilage cocktail.

Test samples

Two test material samples are available. The first contains mixtures of non-pathogenic organisms, for enumerating TVC, coliforms, Enterobacteriaceae, lactic acid bacteria, yeasts and moulds, as well as pathogens that are usually quantitatively analysed. The second might additionally contain Salmonella, Listeria, Vibrio and Campylobacter, and is designed for companies with suitable laboratory facilities who have experience with handling pathogens.

Non-toxigenic E. coli O157, and osmophilic yeasts and moulds have recently been added to our samples. Other new features include z scores for all count results and Trend Analysis, and a full statistical analysis is available for all results.

Click button to request this report via email

For a fact sheet giving more information on proficiency schemes, send an e-mail to with the subject line: send proficiency

Contact us

If you would like further information please email us at or call our switchboard on +44(0)1386 842000 and they will be happy to direct your call to the relevant person.

Where we refer to UKAS Accreditation

The Campden BRI group companies listed below are both accredited in accordance with the recognised International Standard ISO/IEC 17025:2005 by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). The accreditation demonstrates technical competence for a defined scope of methods, specific to each site, as detailed in the schedules of accreditation bearing the testing laboratory number. The schedules may be revised from time to time and reissued by UKAS. The most recent issue of the schedules are available from the UKAS website

Campden BRI (Chipping Campden) Limited is a UKAS accredited testing laboratory No. 1079 Campden BRI (Nutfield) is a UKAS accredited testing laboratory No. 1207