Microbiological Analyses

Fit For Human Consumption

Decomposition of food is the process where food becomes spoiled and unsafe for people to consume.  Produce, seafood, and meat begin to decay naturally from the time it is harvested, caught or processed due to attacks from enzymes, oxidation and microorganisms.  These include bacteria, mold and yeast.  The rate of spoilage is greatly influenced by environmental factors such as temperature and moisture level, as well as how the product is packaged and stored.

Roughly, one-third of the worlds’ food produced for human consumption is lost every year due to spoilage.  Consuming contaminated food can result in serious sonsequences.  It’s important for food manufacturers to take the necessary preventative measures.

The total plate count is a general indicator of the total amount of aerobic bacteria present.  As the total aerobic bacterial count increases beyond several hundred thousands counts, decomposition develops rapidly as bacterial growth enters the logarithmic phase.  This decomposition is apparent by the off-odor produced.

Coliforms and gram negative bacterial organisms are indicators of poor sanitation or food product handling.  Coliforms are found in nature and man as well as animals.  Fecal coliforms are found in mammals.

E. coli is considered a human fecal coliform marker and is HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) regarded organism.  The presence in a ready to eat food product is a serious health problem.   E. coli should not be detected in normal, fresh, wholesome, non-meat products.  Hands – feces – hand product contact is the primary vector suspected when E. coli is present in a finished ready to eat or seafood product.

There is no regulatory tolerence for salmmonella/25 grams and listeria/ 25 grams.  The state of Florida considers listeria monocytogenes to be a human pathogen, but the USDA considers the presence of Listeria to be unacceptable.  Production plant remediation of listeria may be a difficult process and should be fully understood in order to eradicate and control this bacteria.

Mold and yeast are spoilage organisms.  The presence of visable mold growth in the vegetative state is considered a form of decomposition.

A series of microbiological tests are used to assess the overall quality and projected shelf life of a food product.

Shelf Life Testing

The shelf life is the recommended maximum time for which products or fresh produce can be stored after processing or harvesting before reaching a level of unacceptable degradation in quality.

The stability testing protocol may be customized for each type of food group or processed product submitted.  Appropriate tests to determine the identity, wholesomeness and quality of the product will be outlined prior to the initiation of the stability study.

Testing is performed to measure the bacterial integrity of a finished product.  Demonstrating the absence of pathogenic bacteria in the product is the safest way of avoiding consumer cases regarding food borne illness.  The finished report is an excellent sales tool as it indicates that the product is shelf stable and free of pathogenic bacteria for the specified period of time.

A projected shelf life period should include a reasonable time for production, distribution, sale and consumption.  The stability study should also establish product safety for an acceptable time beyond the actual recommended expiration date.  The laboratory will assist you in setting up a shelf life study to meet your specific needs.  Most importantly, if a problem is identified, the study is halted.  Any issue is immediately communicated so it can be addressed prior to repeating the study.  Our process lends itself to be an iterative part of your product development.

Kappa Labs offers microbiological, chemical and physical types of shelf life testing.  Microbiological testing, the most common method in the food industry, measures the product’s resistance to microbial growth.  Test results show how well the product safety is retained by comparing the overall bacterial growth during the testing period to established acceptable limits.  Chemical testing measures the degree to which the product retains it chemical integrity and potency, within specified limits.  Physical testing evaluates how well the product’s original physical properties, including appearance, palatability, odor, and wholesomeness are retained.

Export Health Certificate

Kappa Laboratories performs full documentation and summary of reports. We Notarize the Export Health Certificate to countries worldwide. 25 years of Claim Analyses Experience. The Laboratory of Choice for Major Export and International Firms.Chemical Analysis includes – Product Fingerprinting – Scromboid Toxins in Seafood – Indole and Toxins Decomposition Markers – Salmonella – Listeria – E. coli – mold / Yeast – Cosmetic – Pharmaceutical – Nutritional and Eviornmental areas.