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Different Food Analysis Methods for Microbiology

Consumers today are more aware of the safety of the food that they consume. They demand high quality and fresh foods, and that’s why the food industry has developed advanced practices to ensure consumers get the best product available. Food analysis methods for microbiology are used to ensure that food products are safe.

The purpose of food analysis methods for microbiology is to determine and limit harmful microorganisms that can spoil food. The tests also make sure that the products are free of foodborne diseases. The tests are often made by a Quality Assurance team in the factory or facility. Their goal is to identify all the possible risks and determine if there is a pathogen detected or not.

Before a microbiology test, the analyst must know the purpose, requirements, and primary expectations, and the possible results. This will allow the analyst to know what sampling process to be done, types of samples needed by the tests, and what food analysis methods to be used. The analysts must also know the required actions to be taken before and after the tests are completed.

Why Do Food Analysis Methods for Microbiology
Microbiological food analysis is just one of the elements of a food safety system. However, it doesn’t guarantee a 100 percent product safety. It serves as a vital part of the food production process. The test allows a company to collect information about their manufacturing process, processing workplace, and a specific lot. Through testing, one can also determine whether they are following regulatory guidelines or not.

It is important to note that microbiological tests can’t determine whether the food product is free from pathogens. The tests are made through sampling, which is only a small portion of the food products. There are instances in which the samples have no pathogens, but other items that were not tested have them.
To maximize food quality, food manufacturers need to establish prerequisite programs that include Good Manufacturing Practices, Traceability, Sanitation Practices, Recall Management, and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point.

There are three types of food analysis methods for microbiology. These are immunoassay, polymerase chain reaction, and culture media.

Immunoassay
Immunoassay is a test that measures the concentration of a macromolecule in a solution with the use of an immunoglobulin or antibody. More often than not, the detected macromolecule is a protein, which is known as an analyte. Antibodies are utilised to identify specific proteins, and the test can provide quantitative and qualitative results.

Polymerase Chain Reaction
Polymerase Chain Reaction or PCR is a relatively new food analysis method. It is used to find RNA or DNA that is unique to the target microorganism. This type of test is used in biological and medical research.

Culture Media
Culture media is used to detect various microorganisms through culturing. The culture agent is made of different nutrients that can improve the growth of the microbes. It has been observed that the culture media method is not suitable for all food groups, which is why it is not widely used compared to the first two food analysis methods.
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