The Microbiological Services Group conducts microbiological analysis on fishery products and/or obtains such services from specialized fishery products testing laboratories as required to support the DOC National Seafood Inspection Program in its field operations. The Group performs tests for:
- Aerobic Plate Counts
- Fecal Coliforms
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Vibrio parahaemolyticus
- Other Contaminants
The Group also operates a voluntary inspection program to detect and control the incidence of Salmonella in fish meal products. The Fish Meal Program includes periodic plant and product inspections and is responsible for issuing Export Certificates for fish meal products. Various analytical tests are performed on samples (e.g., import and domestic seafood products) submitted by clients or stakeholders in the seafood area on a fee-for-service basis.
Additionally, the Group has been analyzing molluscan shellfish (i.e., oysters) and growing water samples for Vibrio parahaemolyticus. These samples are received from the Mississippi State Department of Marine Resources and are tested using gene probe technology and are confirmed using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methodology. These tests are performed in conjunction with the National Ocean Service (NOS) laboratory in Charleston, South Carolina. Further, analytical verification of new real-time PCR protocols are being performed in collaboration with FDA’s Gulf Coast Seafood Laboratory, Dauphin Island, Alabama.