What is Microbiology Testing?
Safe and clean food is vital for human consumption. This is because contaminated food can lead to diseases or even death. Thus, the food industry has developed safe practices in the manufacturing and production of food. Despite this, foodborne diseases still occur, and that’s why experts are putting more emphasis on microbiology testing of all food products before they reach the consumers.
Understanding Microbiology Testing
Microbiology testing is done on food products to identify harmful microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi. They cause food spoilage which is a huge risk for humans. Thus, this test helps food manufacturers to know whether their food products are contaminated or not.
Analysts are experts and know why they do a particular microbiology test and what results they expect from the test. Thus, during microbiology analyzing, the analyst chooses samples, a suitable method, and what to do if the pathogen is detected in the food product or not.
The Importance of Microbiology Testing
Some problems caused by contaminated foods are irreversible. Thus, microbiology testing helps analysts identify risk factors on raw food, intermediate, and processed products. Again, it helps them verify if the process used is safe and confirm if food processing firms follow the set guidelines.
The food processing environment needs to be clean at all times. Therefore, food manufacturers and processors should always wear special attire when handling food products, and the equipment used should be clean. Despite this, microbiology testing is crucial to ensure food safety before human consumption.
However, microbiology testing doesn’t guarantee 100% food safety because only a small sample of the food product is tested. That’s why there are strict regulations that food manufacturing and processing firms must follow. Some programs that help in ensuring food safety practices include Sanitation Practices, Recall Management and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP)
Common Microbiology Testing Methods
Analysts use the following microbiology Testing Methods;
This method is used to identify the macromolecule concentration in a solution. The analysts either use antibodies or immunoglobulin to detect an analyte. Thus, this method determines whether there are microorganisms if specific proteins are detected. It takes a day or two before the analysts obtain the results.
Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)
PCR is used to test microorganisms through DNA or RNA. It produces billions of specific DNA sequences when DNA polymerase is performed. This method is used to produce results within 24 to 48 hours. However, today analysts use test tubes and obtain results within a few hours.
This is a traditional method that was used to test the presence of microorganisms on certain food products. It’s still used in laboratories to detect microbial growth culturally. Though culture media has been used for several years, analysts prefer Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and immunoassay, which test more food groups than culture media. This method takes one to seven days to obtain accurate results.
The above guide helps in understanding microbiology testing deeper. Microorganisms can spoil food exposed to certain unsuitable conditions. Using culture media, PCR, and immunoassay, analysts can determine whether the food is contaminated or not for safe human consumption.