Staphylococcus aureus Testing
Staphylococcus aureus is also referred to as Coagulase Positive Staphylococcus. Foods that are frequently incriminated by staphylococcal food poisoning include meat and meat products; poultry and egg products; salads, such as egg, tuna, chicken, potato and macaroni; bakery products such as cream-filled pastries, cream pies and chocolate éclairs; sandwich fillings and milk/dairy products. Foods that require considerable handling during preparation and that are kept at slightly elevated temperatures after preparation are frequently involved in staphylococcal food poisoning.
Staphylococci exist in air, dust, sewage, water, milk, food or on food equipment, environmental surfaces, humans and animals. Humans and animals are the primary reservoirs. Although food handlers are usually the main source of food contamination in food poisoning outbreaks, equipment and environmental surfaces can also be sources of contamination with S. aureus. Human intoxication is caused by ingesting enterotoxins produced in food by some strains of S. aureus, usually because the food has not been kept hot enough (60°C, 140°F, or above) or cold enough (7.2°C, 45°F, or below). Therefore, this is a good test to indicate temperature abuse of selected food products.
- A 50g minimum sample is recommended. Environmental surface samples can also be analyzed.
- EMSL Test Code: F105
- Sample retention time – 30 days, unless highly perishable