Microorganisms in Food
Foods, unless heat-treated to sterility, contain many live microorganisms. If the numbers of these organisms reach certain levels, the shelf-life and safety of the food becomes questionable. The food industry regularly checks foods to be assured the numbers of microorganisms are within recommended limits. The standard plate count (SPC) is a method that is often used to test food for microbial quality. This test can also be used as part of a HACCP program to verify that the sanitary methods being used in food preparation are effective.