Food safety assurance systems: Microbiological testing, sampling plans, and microbiological criteria

M.H. Zwietering, T. Ross, L.G.M. Gorris

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Microbiological criteria give information about the quality or safety of foods. A key component of a microbiological criterion is the sampling plan. Considering: (1) the generally low level of pathogens that are deemed tolerable in foods, (2) large batch sizes, and (3) potentially substantial heterogeneity of food products, very large numbers of samples need to be analyzed to have meaningful results. However, sampling plans must be realistic considering the time and cost for sampling and analysis. No feasible sampling plan can guarantee the absence of microorganisms in a lot. The performance of sampling plans is described as they reflect the microbiological quality or safety required for a food through setting microbiological criteria. The main focus will be on microbiological safety, although many aspects covered will be relevant for quality and other testing objectives. Keywords ALOP; Appropriate level of protection; Attribute plan; Codex; Food safety management; Food safety objective; HACCP, (food safety) standards; Microbiological criteria; Monitoring; Operating characteristic curve; Performance objective; Performance; Sampling statistics; Sampling plan; Testing
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Food Safety, Volume 4: Food Safety Management
EditorsY. Motarjemi
Place of PublicationWaltham, MA
PublisherAcademic Press
ISBN (Print)9780123786128
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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