How good is your microbiology laboratory?

Campden Microbiology Proficiency Scheme

How good is your microbiology laboratory? Our newly upgraded proficiency scheme will tell you.

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.

The Campden Microbiology Proficiency Scheme has been running since 1993 and 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.

How does it work?

  1. A freeze-dried sample is sent to all laboratories in the scheme with the simple instruction to detect or enumerate the microorganisms it contains.
  2. The laboratory can use whatever methods it chooses and be as specific or generic as it wishes in the results it reports. It is free to return results for the tests that it wishes, to cover using its own test methods
  3. The laboratory then sends the results back online for analysis
  4. The results are assessed and uploaded so that individual laboratories can see how their results compare to the anonymised results from other laboratories in the scheme

This allows them to independently assess their ability to produce accurate and precise test results.

Some laboratories may only want to report on total viable 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.

A detailed report is received by each participating laboratory which includes histograms and statistical information such as Z-scores, assigned values etc.

To find our more, or join the scheme, please download the form below. Alternatively email:

Where we refer to UKAS Accreditation

The Campden BRI group companies listed below are both accredited in accordance with the recognised International Standard ISO17025:2017 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