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What You Need to Know About Coliforms

Coliforms refer to a wide class of bacteria that is often found within our environment, such as in feces of humans, as well as with other animals considered as warm-blooded. The existence of coliform bacteria found in drinking water may also be an indication of a potential presence of other disease-causing, harmful organisms.

Coliforms in Food
Any food should be free of pathogens, or pathogens that cause diseases. These pathogens can come in the form of viruses, bacteria, or protozoa. Some pathogens can cause certain diseases such as giardiasis, hepatitis, as well as dysentery. To test food for the potential presence of harmful protozoa, viruses, and bacteria, proper procedures should be implemented by the company. It may be done by assigned personnel within the company, or by a third party inspector.

The process of determining coliform count in food usually includes submitting of sample containers. The containers may be availed of from health district offices during their work hours. You may request a coliform or bacteriological analysis. The sample needs to be received, and prepared within a period of 30 hours of collecting the sample, and kept cool while in transit.

When collecting your sample, it is very important to ensure that the sample container is not contaminated. Your food sample should vary, in order to widen out the potential test. There should be at least half an inch space at the top of your container. Submit the sample to the laboratory as soon as possible.

What to Do?
If there are coliforms in food discovered, there is no need to fret. You may want to inquire about the coliforms in food acceptable level, and see if your sample has passed or not. The food analysed for presence of coliform will be labelled as satisfactory or unsatisfactory. If your food has been tested and found to be unsatisfactory, most likely it is contaminated with those disease-causing pathogens. Along with the result, you will also be able to receive details on how to disinfect them accordingly. Usually, testing for the presence of coliforms goes hand in hand with having a food audit for your company. 

On the other hand, if your food sample is marked as satisfactory, it only goes to show that your food handling and processing is free from potential sources of disease-causing organisms. However, it is only applicable during the time of the sample. It is still very important to have your food check done regularly, at least annually, to be assured that the food that you prepare is free from these harmful coliforms. Testing can also be done if there are some changes in your environment.
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