There are concepts that we relegate to certain sectors without worrying too much about their meaning. However, every day the current situation we live in regarding food and raw materials forces us to be more aware of what we ingest.
It might seem that advances in technology, chemistry, and biology free us from any risk in the consumption of food, water, and cosmetics. Still, the improvement of these disciplines is also accompanied by the emergence of new pathogens and other threats to human consumption’s optimal quality.
The microbiology testing is usually used to know the Sanitary Quality to prevent early food spoilage, the release of ingredients and production batches, commercialization, for the verification of the specifications established by Sanitary Regulation, for the preservation of Health.
Normally, the analytical determinations used are qualitative and quantitative (presence and numerical determination of microorganisms, respectively) depending on the type of food and sanitary specifications.
Objectives of a microbiological analysis
Microbiological control makes it possible to identify the number of microorganisms that are present in the analyzed food. This means that a microbiological analysis of food allows us to know the food’s general hygienic conditions to prevent common diseases such as salmonellosis, staphylococcal intoxication, and necrotic enteritis, or gastroenteritis.
With this, the laboratory in charge of performing the microbiological analysis of food will have to analyze the risk that the consumption of that food contaminated by “x” pathogen implies human health and how that risk can be reduced. Obviously, the risk level will depend on the minimum effective dose of the microorganism and the values found in the food.
Parts of a microbiological analysis
- Analytical Method
- Interpretation of results
The most commonly used indicator microorganisms in an analysis of microorganisms in food are:
Total Coliforms: Indicators of deficient sanitation conditions or failures in the cleaning and disinfection processes.
Fecal Coliforms: Indicators of fecal contamination due to poor sanitation, non-compliance with cleaning and disinfection processes, or cross-contamination.
Mesophilic Aerobes: Indicators of environmental contamination.
Molds and yeasts: Indicators of environmental contamination.
Common diseases you can prevent
Most illnesses that can occur in food are diarrheal. Although it is true that in a healthy and well-fed person, the impact is less, this type of disease can be serious for your health.
Salmonellosis. Caused by the Salmonella sp. bacteria genus, which is transmitted by direct contact or cross-contamination during food handling.
Staphylococcus or staphylococcal intoxication. Caused by Staphylococcus aureus (Staphylococcus aureus). This bacterium is frequently found in mucous membranes and can cause skin infections, gastrointestinal tract disorders, and even other diseases such as meningitis or endocarditis.
Necrotic enteritis or gas gangrene (Clostridium perfringens). The bacterium causing this disease is found in several humans and animals’ intestines and can lead to the destruction of infected tissues. Although there are very effective treatments to combat it, it can be lethal.
Gastroenteritis. Very common but no less important, gastroenteritis is an intestinal inflammation that can be caused by viruses (Rotavirus, Norovirus) or bacteria (Vibrio parahaemolyticus, Campylobacter spp., etc.), whose transmission can be due to the ingestion of food handled in deficient hygienic-sanitary conditions and/or contaminated water.