Microbiological Standards and Guidelines

pipettes, viles and petri dishes

Includes links to a variety of microbiological standards, guidelines, and specifications developed by government agencies and industry. Also includes links to resources related to developing and interpreting microbiological criteria in food.



Commission Regulation On Microbiological Criteria For Foodstuffs (PDF | 451 KB)

European Commission.

Document that outlines regulations regarding microbiological criteria in food. Includes food safety criteria, microbiological limits for pathogenic bacteria and aerobic plate counts (APC), process hygiene criteria, and rules for sampling and preparation of test samples.


Bacteriological Analytical Manual (BAM)

DHHS. Food and Drug Administration.

Collection of procedures utilized for pathogen detection in food and cosmetic products. General guidelines and procedures and methods for detection of specific pathogens, microbial toxins, foodborne pathogens and other pathogens are discussed.


National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods

USDA. Food Safety and Inspection Service.

The National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods (NACMCF) provides impartial, scientific advice to federal food safety agencies.


Guidelines for the Microbiological Examination of Ready-To-Eat Foods

Food Standards Australia New Zealand.

Describes standard plate count, indicators, pathogens, and categories of microbiological acceptability for microbiological examination.


A Guide to Calculating the Shelf Life of Foods - Information Booklet for the Food Industry

New Zealand Food Safety Authority.

Shelf-life guide that covers regulations, influencing factors, and determination methods with examples. The appendix contains examples of standard plate count (SPC) for various ready-to-eat foods.


Microbiological Guidelines for Ready-to-eat Foods (PDF | 31 KB)

Hong Kong Food and Environmental Hygiene Department. Centre for Food Safety.

A technical document that describes the responsibilities of the expert panel and explicitly sets the microbiological limits of aerobic colony count, E. coli, and nine specific pathogens of ready-to-eat foods.


Principles for the Establishment and Application of Microbiological Criteria for Foods

Food and Agriculture Organization.

Gives guidance on the establishment and application of microbiological criteria for foods at any point in the food chain from primary production to final consumption.


International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods: Publications

International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods

Provides book references, articles and papers, presentations, and software downloads from the ICMSF that produces science-based guidance to government and industry on appraising and controlling the microbiological safety of foods.


Microorganisms in Foods. 2. Sampling For Microbiological Analysis: Principles and Specific Applications (PDF | 813 KB)

International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods.

A chart of microbiological aerobic plate count and pathogen limits for the various foods. Also provides the reservoirs appropriate for test sampling.


Model Code for Produce Safety

Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO).

A science based regulatory framework to address the production of all fruits and vegetables, while maintaining the flexibility to appropriately address specific commodities of higher concern to assist the regulatory community in development of a nationally integrated food safety system.