Proficiency Testing Australia
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PTA has scheduled the Pathogens in Food (Round 37) proficiency testing program for April 2018.  This is an important proficiency testing program for food safety and involves testing food samples for the presence or absence of Salmonella and Listeria (including Listeria monocytogenes).


For Round 37, PTA are expanding the Pathogens in Food program to include testing for the presence or absence of Cronobacter.  Cronobacter is a genus of the family Enterobacteriaceae and was first proposed as a new genus in 2007 as a clarification of the taxonomic relationship of the biogroups found among strains of Enterobacter sakazakii.

Cronobacter can be found naturally in the environment and can live in very dry places.  Cronobacter has been found in dry foods, like powdered infant formula, powdered milk, herbal teas, and starches.  It has also been found in sewer water.  

Cronobacter can cause several different kinds of infections.  The symptoms of these infections vary with both the site of infection and the age of the patient, with the most serious infections occurring amongst infants, people with immunocompromising conditions and the elderly.  In infants, Cronobacter can cause dangerous blood infections (sepsis) or infections of the linings surrounding the brain and spine (meningitis).  Cronobacter can also cause wound infections or urinary tract infections for people of all ages.

Nearly all cases of Cronobacter infection amongst infants, have been associated with the consumption of reconstituted powdered infant formula.  Powdered infant formula is not sterile.  Manufacturers of powdered infant powder should, therefore, have screening programs in place for Cronobacter to enable prompt detection and mitigation of contamination.

Laboratories that participate in the PTA Pathogens in Food proficiency testing program will be able to demonstrate their competence for food safety testing.  Registration for participation in the program is taking place in March 2018.

For more information about the program, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.