Microbiological testing can play an important role in food safety management providing the reason for testing is clear and the test applied is appropriate.
Microbiological criteria support decision making about a food or process when microbiological testing is used. A microbiological criterion provides microbiological limits that are considered appropriate to a food at a specific point of the food chain and states the actions to be taken when the criterion is not met.
Microbiological criteria that are applied to determine the safety of a food lot (food safety criteria) are included in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code).
Other microbiological criteria (process hygiene criteria) can be developed and applied at various stages throughout the food chain to indicate whether the food safety controls in place are working as intended.
The development of process hygiene criteria is an ongoing activity associated with the review of Standard 1.6.1.
The Compendium will be continually updated to include new criteria as it is established.
The September 2018 version includes process hygiene criteria for dairy products, covering raw bulk milk, processed liquid milk and cream and cheese. Additional dairy products will be included when developed. In addition, a new section on environmental monitoring has been included (Section 3) which provides general guidance on establishing an environmental monitoring program for Listeria monocytogenes.
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