Microbiology testing of food items has enhanced awareness among citizens to safeguard food consumption. People have become more demanding to consume fresher produce, which is also more secure. The frequent outbreak of diseases has offered a further nudge in the same direction.
There are many diseases that can act out through food consumption. These are food-borne pathogens that can provoke a myriad of illnesses. Using microbiology testing can battle these woes. And facilitate a more carefree atmosphere for people to consume their food.
Consumption of food necessitates mass awareness now. Masses are better educated and more concerned with the efficient testing of food. The process uses methods that ensure the security of food and supreme quality.
WHY IS IT DONE?
Microbiological testing is a small segment of the entire verification process. It does not guarantee a hundred percent product security. The procedure is imperative. It purposes to outline crucial details about the manufacturing process, processing environment, and a peculiar product batch.
It is also crucial in discerning whether a product was aptly designed and finished recalling the administrative guidelines. It is skilled in identifying harmful microorganisms that mar the food quality. These are various bacteria, viruses, and pathogens that prompt foodborne illnesses.
The testing team establishes effective methods to anticipate threats that may lead up to harmful diseases. They aim the procedure at matching certain specifications. Such as information about the material, intermediate and finished product. It serves to identify risk factors and corroborates the safety of a food item.
The people performing these tests are aware of the prerequisite, purpose, and primary expectation attached to the testing process. This will aid them to accurately interpret the results and maintain the necessary precautions.
The procedure wields merely a small portion of the food products. However, companies must include Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), Good Manufacturing Practices, Recall Management, and maintain sanitation.
TYPES OF TESTING
1) Culture media: A testing approach where labs diagnose and detect various microorganisms by cultivating them. The procedure incorporates nutrients that promote microbial growth. Traditionally they used this method for testing ready-to-eat food items and fresh produce.
But immunoassay and PCR methods are more accepted now. Cultural media is not adequate for testing all food groups. The process initiates with the identification and detection of microorganisms. By employing liquid and solid mediums.
In the culture approach, microscopes typically detect microbes. They use biochemical and serological techniques to differentiate between different organisms. It gives people an inkling regarding the organism and its numbers. Attaining results can take up to 12 hours to one week.
2) Immunoassay: This is a microbiological test that measures the accumulation of a macromolecule in a solution. It uses antibodies or immunoglobulin. In most cases, the macromolecule is a protein that is known as an “analyte”.
There are various immunoassay methods applied to test the analyte in liquids. Depending on the purpose, the test varies. Eg: Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay or pregnancy test, which is the most commercially used practice.
They use antibodies to reveal and discern precise proteins that are uncommon to the target microorganism. Methods are sensitive when clubbed with cultural enrichment. It takes about 24-48 hours for the results to show up.
3) Polymerase Chain Reaction: This is a novel approach used in biological and medical labs. The test can identify the DNA or RNA which are typically unique to the microorganism. The method wields DNA and can produce billions of copies of a specific DNA sequence.
It helps in ascertaining whether a specific plant or animal DNA is present in the food item. PCR methods usually determine qualitative results over quantitative results. It is a sensitive and rapid test, notably when it is paired with the cultural approach. The test results take about 24-28 hours.
The quality of a food product is determined by microorganisms. Testing of food is indispensable because it may act as a stimulator for pathogens. Hence, monitoring the quality, ingredients, and preparation of components is essential.
There is a higher chance of packaged foods possessing undesirable microorganisms. Because there is a lack of cooking these instant food items, they may cause health hazards. Thus, it is fundamental to subject food to scrutiny before its consumption. Keeping foods in the refrigerator for obscene amounts of time can propagate the survival of microorganisms.
Therefore, it is critical to keep these points in mind and act logically. People need to realize that microbiology testing is not a full-proof method. Many practices have to be used to ensure that the food being consumed is safe and free of pathogens.