How good is your microbiology laboratory?
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.
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."
For a fact sheet giving more information on proficiency schemes, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: send proficiency
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 www.ukas.com
Campden BRI (Chipping Campden) Limited is a UKAS accredited testing laboratory No. 1079 Campden BRI (Nutfield) is a UKAS accredited testing laboratory No. 1207