Microbiological Criteria

 Microbiological criteria are used to assess the acceptability of food.  When a particular food is tested for a particular microorganism (toxin or metabolite) the results can indicate if:

  • the food is safe to eat or not
  • the food is of acceptability quality, or
  • the hygiene standards in the food establishment are satisfactory or unsatisfactory.

Legal microbiological criteria have been set for some, but not all, combinations of food and microorganism (toxin or metabolite).  If a relevant legal microbiological criterion does not exist, guideline microbiological criteria can be used to assess the acceptability of food.



See our online courses 'Regulation 2073/2005 Module 1: Identifying Relevant Microbiological Criteria' and and ‘Regulation 2073/2005 Module 2: Sampling and Testing’.

These modules are based on Questions 1 and 2 of the FSAI’s Guidance Note No. 27 checklist for assessing compliance with Regulation 2073/2005

These modules (and more) are available in our eLearning section.

Last reviewed: 14/8/2020

Approved Food Establishments 


Food Labelling