The Significance of Coliform Testing

Complying with FDA and EPA rules regarding food and water sanitation is essential for every manufacturer of food and bottler of water and other beverages. This is especially significant for the dairy and meat industries, where food products are exceedingly susceptible to contamination by bacteria like E. coli, salmonella and many others. Due to the numerous possibilities of contamination, coliform testing is a priority. It should be performed regularly to indicate problems in the production and packaging processes.

Coliforms as Safety Indicators

Testing for the presence of coliforms is the standard way to indicate the possible additional presence of more harmful pathogens in food, beverages and water. While some of these “indicator bacteria” are frequently present in our everyday lives to a certain extent, they, themselves usually only cause issue when they reach elevated numbers, such as with E. coli bacteria. It is present in most warm-blooded animals including people, and exists harmlessly in most cases. When numbers elevate, or certain strains are introduced however, this is when illness is more likely to occur.

What is more important about the presence of E. coli is that it indicates the likelihood of the presence of other, more harmful organisms, which is why it is considered to be an indicator organism. Numerous other coliforms behave in the same way, so they have become useful in pinpointing where there are issues in food and water supplies. Essentially, if the indicator organisms are present, there should be strong suspicion that some other, more harmful pathogens that live in the same environments as these indicators are present as well.

Quality Control with Coliform Testing

The importance of regular coliform testing for food producers and processors should be a fairly obvious one, although there is much more that can be learned through this testing. Depending on which type of pathogen is found, and at what point in the production or packaging process it is found, steps can then be taken to remedy the problem quickly, which protects both the manufacturer and the consumer. Manufacturers can refer to their suppliers and packagers to locate the source of either poor handling or contamination, and take the necessary steps to remove the risk of pathogens quickly, which reduces waste and the need for more massive, widespread product recalls.

Quick and Convenient Results with BioLumix

Given how significant coliform testing is, and the effect that it can have on food and beverage production, and the substantial losses that can occur with contamination, having answers as soon as possible is essential. This is where the biolumix system shines above the rest, since we have developed a highly accurate testing method that provides those answers in as little as two days, as opposed to the 7 to 8 days that most other types of coliform testing require. In terms of efficiency, our system offers the fastest means for manufacturers, bottlers and packagers to find problems with raw ingredients or within their processing techniques, and isolate them before production has continued for upwards of a week, creating huge production losses.