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Les essais inter-laboratoires en microbiologie des aliments Inter-laboratory studies in food microbiology

Abstract : The validity of microbiological controls, performed for ensuring food safety, requires in particular reliable analytical results. Such reliability needs validated methods, implemented by a competent laboratory. The inter-laboratory studies enable to respect, at least partly, these two conditions. Meanwhile, given experimental limitations, these studies are not so largely performed in food microbiology than in other analytical fields. In a first step, a review of reference documents enables to make a point on what exists. It covers the three objectives that can be attributed to inter-laboratory studies, that is the assessment of analytical methods, or of laboratories, or the characterisation of reference materials. The documents of general scope, then the ones specific to food analysis, are taken into account, and their applicability to the microbiological analysis of food is investigated. The reference documents and practices specific to the field of interest are finally presented, and the deviations to the general documents are considered. On this base, the conditions for implementing two types of inter-laboratory studies are presented, that is on one side the validation of methods in the frame of a European project of the 4th Framework Programme, and on the other side the assessment of laboratories through proficiency testing for the National Reference Laboratories for milk. The difficulties linked to the experimental protocol, as well as to the specificity of microbiology,are highlighted. The exploitation of studies' results is explained, given the objectives and the nature, qualitative or quantitative, of the determination. As regards to the characterisation of method performance, the use of robust statistics to estimate the precision of analytical methods is discussed, as well as the estimation of both precision and trueness of qualitative methods. For these aspects, ways of improvement are envisaged. The interest to organise inter-laboratory studies in food microbiology is then covered. It consists in the use that can be made of these studies as essential tool for method validation or for laboratory assessment. The purpope is, on one side, to give credibility or to improve the analytical methods standardised at international level, and on the other side, to estimate the measurement uncertainty attached to analytical results. As to the limitations of these studies, mainly of experimental nature, most of them are linked to the living nature of the analyte, and they refer to questions of representativity.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 31, 2005 - 8:00:00 AM
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Bertrand Lombard. Les essais inter-laboratoires en microbiologie des aliments Inter-laboratory studies in food microbiology. Chemical Sciences. INAPG (AgroParisTech), 2004. English. ⟨NNT : 2004INAP0017⟩. ⟨pastel-00001258⟩

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