Microbiological criteria for foodstuffs: Guidance for food business operators

EU Regulation No. 2073/2005 on microbiological criteria for foods (as amended by EU Regulation No. 1441/2007) complements the food hygiene legislation and applies to all food businesses involved in the production and handling of food.

It should be stressed that the regulation is flexible in its approach, in that sampling and testing plans should be determined on the basis of risk (e.g. size and type of business).

The microbiological criteria can be used by the food business to validate and verify their food safety management procedures and when assessing the acceptability of foodstuffs or their manufacturing, handling and distribution processes.

This regulation does not introduce a general requirement for routine end product testing or the need to await results before placing a product on the market (positive release).

Trade organisations, such as the British Retail Consortium and Chilled Food Association, have produced guidance on complying with the regulation that may also be helpful.

If you require further information on microbiological criteria please email: david.gray@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk

Alternatively, contact:

David Gray
Hygiene & Microbiology
Food Standards Agency
Aviation House
125 Kingsway
London WC2B 6NH
tel: 020 7276 8940

The consolidated version of the Microbiological Criteria Regulation is available on the Commission website.