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TFDA Demonstrates High Capability in Microbe Detection at International Proficiency Test

  • Data Source:Ministry of Health and Welfare
  • Created:2016-04-04
  • Last Updated:2017-01-10

To ensure good performance in ensuring food safety for public health, the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration (TFDA) of the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) actively participates in food testing capacity assessments held by world-renowned institutions. In 2015, TFDA took part in the Proficiency Testing Program (FEPAS PT) organized by the UK’s Central Science Laboratory (CSL) – the food poisoning pathogens (unknown target bacteria) detection test. TFDA’s Food Laboratory was the only laboratory that correctly detected all the microbes in test samples, showing its capacity for detecting unknown target microbes and food poisoning pathogens has reached international standards. 
The food poisoning pathogens (unknown target bacteria) detection test simulated a food poisoning case, with symptoms including diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain and an incubation period of 12-72 hours. The test sample was a “rice with beef” meal set (with unknown pathogens added). The participants were asked to make a case judgment by themselves, propose a strategy to perform detection and analysis, and determine the etiologic agents that caused food poisoning in the sample. A comprehensive report published by the organizer stated that the matrices of the sample, including beef, rice and chili pepper, were added with three microorganisms: Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica serovar cerro, 1.99 log CFU/g; Staphylococcus epidermidis, 1.80 log CFU/g; and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, 2.26 log CFU/g. There were in total 12 laboratories around the world that participated in this test. Among them six had correctly detected “Salmonella enterica” as the pathogen; TFDA’s Food Laboratory was the only laboratory that detected all three microorganisms in the sample. 
One of TFDA’s main tasks is the research and publication of detection methods for microbes in food. Over the years, TFDA has conducted timely additions and amendments in response to international changes in method or special needs. The latest edition of “Methods of Testing for Food Microbiology - Test of Salmonella” was revised and published by the announcement of Bu-Shou-Shi-Zi No.1021951187 issued by the MOHW on December 23, 2013. The contents the latest edition include the isolation and identification of pure cultures with conventional microbe biochemical tests, and the application of real-time PCR in molecular biological technologies to complement rapid diagnostic tests. On account of the needs for international accreditation, TFDA has been participating in the FEPAS PT Programs on Salmonella detection every year since 2001, testing food matrices including salad, milk powder, liquid egg, chicken, chocolate, chili pepper, and so on. These assessments were organized by the Central Science Laboratory in UK. As of 2015, TFDA has always obtained satisfactory results in the above programs, confirming that its laboratory testing capacity and its published testing methods are both reliable safeguards for the public.