Swabs and other environmental samples: detection and enumeration of bacteria

Standard method for the detection and enumeration of bacteria in swabs and other environmental samples.


Detection and enumeration of bacteria in swabs and other environmental samples

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This method is applicable to the procedures used for examination of environmental samples including swabs from carcasses in meat processing plants, swabs of food preparation surfaces and other environmental samples such as cloths collected from the food manufacturing environment and bottle rinses. This support method must be used in conjunction with accredited methods for the detection of bacteria in foods and includes the use of three different types of swab.

This method is well referenced and represents a good minimum standard for food, water and environmental microbiology. However, in using Standard Methods, laboratories should take account of local requirements and it may be necessary to undertake additional investigations.

The performance of a standard method depends on the quality of reagents, equipment, commercial and in-house test procedures. Laboratories should ensure that these have been validated and shown to be fit for purpose. Internal and external quality assurance procedures should also be in place.

Published 14 July 2014
Last updated 20 November 2017 + show all updates
  1. Added updated version of document.
  2. First published.