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Microbiology Proficiency Scheme 2019/20

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Food microbiology is the scientific study of microorganisms, both in food and used for the production of food - the life forms are bacteria, yeasts, molds, and viruses. Bacteria are the most important microorganisms to the food processor. Most are harmless, many are highly beneficial, some indicate the probable presence of filth, disease organisms, spoilage and a few cause disease. Yeasts and molds grow on most foods, on equipment, and building surfaces where there are small amounts of nutrient and moisture. Since bacteria grow faster, they greatly outnumber yeasts and molds in most foods. Viruses are the smallest and simplest microorganisms. Unlike bacteria, yeasts, and molds, viruses are incapable of reproducing independently.

Food Microbiology

  • We offer a flexible programme of 10 Food Microbiology distributions a year
  • Real food samples with target organisms and background flora
  • Proficiency Tests for detection and enumeration
  • We have a 9 day testing window available
  • Samples are sent by courier worldwide in a controlled environment
  • Each test receives rigorous statistical analysis with clear feedback
  • Comprehensive reports give information on microbiological methods used by other participants


New Targeted Food Microbiology Proficiency Tests to Support Industry


Listeria monocytogenes Enumeration in Smoked Fish Product

listeria in smoked fish

Smoked fish is consumed extensively all over the world. This foodstuff, due to its characteristics, may be subject to large amounts of natural contaminants. This adds flavour and gives distinct unique selling points from which to ensure significant financial reward or producers. Yet also creates a relative risk of illness from bacterial contamination due to manufacture conditions, which can lead to illness for the consumer. This quantitative proficiency test evaluates your testing ability for the enumeration of Listeria monocytogenes in smoked fish.

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Listeria monocytogenes and Listeria spp. in ready meals

Listeria in Ready Meals

Cases of listeriosis are also increasing among the elderly and young to middle aged women, with ready-to-eat meals and more stringent monitoring systems in EU member states thought to be responsible, recently reported from EFSA. With this in mind, Fapas have developed this qualitative proficiency test which focuses on the detection of the pathogen Listeria monocytogenes and Listeria spp. in a ready to eat (RTE) meal.

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Campylobacter in chicken (enumeration)

Campylobacter in chicken

Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning in the UK. About four in five cases of campylobacter food poisoning in the UK come from contaminated poultry, especially chicken. One of the main ways to get and spread campylobacter poisoning is through cross-contamination from raw chicken. This is a quantitative PT testing your ability to enumerate Campylobacter spp. This new PT is in addition to our existing qualitative campylobacter in chicken PT where your ability to detect the presence of Campylobacter spp. is assessed.

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E. coli (MPN) in beef

E.coli Enumeration by MPN in Beef Proficiency Test

This quantitative proficiency test evaluates your testing ability for the enumeration of E. coli in beef by the Most Probable Number (MPN) method. We have developed this new proficiency testing for an MPN specific proficiency test to meet customer demand. Participants will enumerate by MPN and submit their results as MPN/g. Beef is consumed globally, across a range of different growing practices. This can result in a range of potential contamination events that must be highlighted through your effective testing arrangement, which must, therefore, be safeguarded through robust quality assurance activities.

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Listeria monocytogenes in Soft Cheese

Listeriosis is an infection that usually develops after eating food contaminated with the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. As such, it is important to highlight any potentially unsafe levels of Listeria within consumer foodstuffs. Soft cheese has a mild, sweet taste which is spreadable at room temperature and comes in various flavoured varieties including those with herbs, fruits blended in. The cheese is widely consumed around the world, where it used to enrich cheesecakes, dips, toppings, sweet & savoury dishes and desserts.

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Listeria monocytogenes/Listeria spp. in smoked fish (detection)

This qualitative proficiency test evaluates your testing ability for the detection of Listeria monocytogenes and Listeria spp. in smoked fish. Listeriosis is an infection that usually develops after eating food contaminated with the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. As such it is important to highlight any Listeria strains within foodstuffs accurately, as well as quantifying their levels within foodstuffs.This new PT is in addition to our existing quantitative Listeria monocytogenes in smoked fish PT where your ability to enumerate Listeria monocytogenes is assessed.

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