Statistical Aspects of the Microbiological Examination of Foods

Statistical Aspects of the Microbiological Examination of Foods, 2nd Edition

Statistical Aspects of the Microbiological Examination of Foods, 2nd Edition,Basil Jarvis,ISBN9780080559377


Academic Press



No prior knowledge of statistical techniques is needed to use this book

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Key Features

* Basil Jarvis has had many years of experience in academic, research and industrial food microbiology and is a Past President of the Society for Applied Microbiology. He has published several edited books and more than 200 scientific articles concerned with food microbiology

* NEW to this edition - chapters on Measurement Uncertainty in Microbiology, Statistical Process Control, Food Safety Objectives, Risk Assessment and Microbiological Criteria and a chapter on Validation of Microbiological Methods by Dr Sharon Brunelle, AOAC consultant

* Includes additional figures and tables together with many worked examples to illustrate the use of specific procedures in the analysis of data obtained in the microbiological examination of foods


For many biologists, statistics are an anathema; but statistical analysis of quantitative and qualitative data is of considerable importance. Although spreadsheet software provides a diverse range of statistical tools, users are usually unsure which technique should be used. This book provides the basic statistical theory and practice to understand the types of tests frequently needed for the assessment of microbiological data. No prior knowledge of statistical techniques is required. Even when data can be given to a professional statistician for analysis, the microbiologist needs to have at least a general understanding of the underlying basis of statistical procedures in order to communicate effectively with the statistician. The book contains many worked examples to illustrate the use of the techniques and provides a plethora of references both to standard statistical works and to relevant original scientific papers on food microbiology.


Microbiologists, food microbiologists, applied microbiologists, food scientists, food technologists, official analysts, environmental health officers.

Basil Jarvis

Prof. Basil Jarvis has held various academic and senior industrial research positions throughout his career as a food microbiologist. His work has taken him to many countries outside the UK including the USA, Scandinavia and South Africa. He has published widely on food quality and safety, including inhibition of microbes in food systems, microbial toxins in foods, rapid microbiological methods, and statistical aspects of food microbiology. For almost 40 years he has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Reading and for 20 years was an Honorary Professor of Life Sciences at the University of Surrey, where he established a WHO-sponsored graduate course in Food Microbiology for medical and veterinary practitioners. He has served on numerous official advisory groups, including the statistics group of the AOAC Presidential Taskforce on ‘Best Practices in Microbiological Methods’. He is also a member of the ISO working group on Microbiological Statistics. He is a Past President and Honorary Member of the Society for Applied Microbiology, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and a Fellow of the Institute for Food Science and Technology. Although now retired, he retains his interests in teaching students and considers statistics to be a relaxing hobby, especially when accompanied by a glass of fine wine!

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy, The University of Reading, READING, RG6 6AP, UK

Statistical Aspects of the Microbiological Examination of Foods, 2nd Edition

1 Introduction

2 Some Basic Statistical Concepts
Lots and Samples
Average Sample Populations
Statistics and Parameters
Variance and Error

3 Frequency Distributions
Types of frequency distribution
Statistical probability
The Binomial distribution
The Normal distribution
The Poisson Distribution
The Negative Binomial Distribution
Relationship between the frequency distributions

4 The distribution of microorganisms in foods in relation to sampling
Random distribution
Regular distribution
Contagious (heterogeneous) distributions
Effects of sample size

5 Statistical Aspects Of Sampling For Microbiological Analysis
Attributes and Variables Sampling
Binomial and trinomial distributions
Accuracy of the sample estimate
Acceptance sampling by attributes
Acceptance sampling by variables
Statistical considerations about drawing representative samples

6 Errors In The Preparation Of Laboratory Samples For Analysis
Laboratory sampling errors
Diluent volume errors
Pipette volume errors
Other sources of error
Calculation of the relative dilution error

7 Errors Associated With Colony Count Procedures
Specific technical errors
Pipetting and distribution errors
Limiting precision and confidence limits of the colony count
General technical errors
Comparability of colony count methods
Overall error of colony count methods

8 Errors Associated With Quantal Response Methods
Dilution Series and Most Probable Number counts
Multiple Test Dilution Series
Quantification based on relative prevalence of defectives
Some statistical aspects of multi-stage tests

9 Statistical Considerations Of Other Methods In Quantitative Microbiology
Direct microscopic methods
Indirect methods

10 Measurement Uncertainty in Microbiological Analysis
Accuracy and Precision
Measurement Uncertainty
How is uncertainty estimated?
Reporting of uncertainty
Sampling uncertainty
The use of uncertainty measures in assessing compliance

11 Estimation Of Measurement Uncertainty
The ‘Generalised Uncertainty Method’ (GUM) or bottom-up procedure
The Top-down Approach to Estimation of Uncertainty
Analysis of Variance
Robust Methods of Analysis of Variance (ANOVA)
Measurement of Intermediate Reproducibility
Estimation of Uncertainty Associated with Quantal Methods

12 Statistical Process Control using Microbiological Data
What is Statistical Process Control?
Trend analysis
Tools for Statistical Process Control
Shewart’s Control Charts for Variables Data
CUSUM Charts
Control Charts for Attribute Data

13 Validation of Microbiological Methods
(Dr Sharon Brunelle, AOAC International, Woodville, WA, USA)

The Stages of Method Development
What is Validation?
Statistical Methodologies in Method Validation
Method Comparison – Qualitative Methods
Statistical Analysis of Paired Sample Design - Single Laboratory and Collaborative Laboratory Validation
Statistical Analysis of Unpaired Sample Design - Single Laboratory and Collaborative Laboratory Validation
Method Comparison – Quantitative Methods- Single Laboratory and Collaborative Laboratory Studies
Examination of Data for Outliers
Future Directions

14 Statistical aspects of microbiological criteria for foods in relation to Food Safety Objectives
Food Safety Objectives and Risk Assessment
Microbiological Criteria
The relevance of microbial measurement uncertainty to microbiological criteria

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