ISO 6887-1:2017—Initial Suspension And Decimal Dilutions

Researcher performing microbiological examinations on meat that adhere to ISO 6887-1:2017.

While many microbes are harmless to humans, others can cause serious problems. They can spoil food, introduce toxins, cause disease, etc. The importance of microbiological testing is to quickly identify these contaminants and treat them before they do irreversible damage. ISO 6887-1:2017—Microbiology Of The Food Chain – Preparation Of Test Samples, Initial Suspension And Decimal Dilutions For Microbiological Examination – Part 1: General Rules For The Preparation Of The Initial Suspension And Decimal Dilutions defines general rules for the aerobic preparation of the dilutions for microbiological examinations of products intended for human or animal consumption.

What Is Microbiological Testing?

Harmful microorganisms can include viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and algae. Bacteria, for instance, will attack people through their toxins, resulting in disease (e.g., patitis B, skin infection, and respiratory tract infection). A microbiological test is a type of test through diagnosis and analysis of microbiological images obtained on samples. These results help doctors find the cause of the disease in the patient’s body, enabling them to diagnose and propose the most effective treatment.

Microbiological Examination in Food Safety

In food safety management, microbiological testing is a method of analyzing and imaging microorganisms to determine microorganism contamination levels during the manufacturing process and in final consumer products. It involves the use of biological, biochemical, molecular, or chemical methods for the detection, identification or enumeration of microorganisms in a material (e.g., food, drink, environmental, or clinical sample). Microbiological analysis is often applied to disease causing and spoilage microorganisms. It is typically performed on meat and meat products. Microbiological analysis of meat can uncover harmful contaminants such as e. Coli, which can be transferred from a cow’s intestines to the meat after slaughter, or Salmonella, a common microbiological contaminant of chicken and eggs. Moreover, microbiological testing ensures food safety by identifying and then restricting harmful microorganisms that can spoil foods and/or result in disease among humans and/or animals.

What Is ISO 6887-1?

ISO 6887-1:2017 defines general rules for the aerobic preparation of the initial suspension (primary dilution) and of dilutions for microbiological examinations of products intended for human or animal consumption. This standard defines the general rules for the preparation of samples, initial suspensions, and subsequent dilutions for microbiological examination. For a number of products, ISO 6887-1:2017 specifies that it is necessary to take special precautions, especially when preparing the initial suspension. This is because of the physical state of the product (e.g., dry products, highly viscous products), the presence of inhibitory substances (e.g., spices, high salt content), or the acidity.

ISO 6887-1:2017 excludes preparation of samples for both enumeration and detection test methods where preparation instructions are detailed in specific International Standards.

Bacterial culture plate showing harmful microorganisms against romaine lettuce.

The remaining parts of the ISO 6887 Series, Microbiology of the Food Chain, give specific rules for the preparation of samples and initial suspensions. Each part covers the variety of food and feed products and environmental samples to which this ISO series applies. Check out Detecting Bacteria in the Food Chain – An ISO Approach to learn more about the ISO 6887 Series: Microbiology of the Food Chain.

Products Included in ISO 6887-1

ISO 6887-1:2017 details specifications for a variety of samples and products:

  • Frozen samples, hard and dry products
  • Dehydrated and other low-moisture products
  • Liquid and non-viscous products
  • Acidic products
  • High-fat (over 20%) foods
  • Multi-component products
  • Packaged products
  • Surface samples (swabs and other devices)

Due to the variety of kinds of food and feed samples, ISO 6887-1:2017 describes different test methods for the initial suspensions and subsequent dilutions.

Popular Microbiological Testing Methods

Common types of microbiological examinations include:

  1. Polymerase Chain Reactions (PCR) Testing: replicate the DNA or RNA unique to specific microorganisms and pathogens
  2. Immunoassays: test for the presence of specific microorganisms in a fluid sample and function based on the binding that naturally occurs between an antibody and the contaminant
  3. Culture Medium: (one of the more traditional testing methods) is a liquid or solid applied to the sample to support the growth of any microbes that might be present and can be used on many types of fresh and ready-made foods

ISO 6887-1:2017—Microbiology Of The Food Chain – Preparation Of Test Samples, Initial Suspension And Decimal Dilutions For Microbiological Examination – Part 1: General Rules For The Preparation Of The Initial Suspension And Decimal Dilutions is available on the ANSI Webstore and in this standards package: ISO 6887 – Microbiology of the Food Chain Package.

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