Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals | Kathy Kliebert, Secretary

Statewide Initiatives

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Bacteriological Examination of Commercial Food

PHL Location

Central Laboratory

CPT Code



Aerobic Plate Count (APC) and Fecal Coliform Test

Brief Description of Test

APC is intended to indicate the level of microorganism in a product. Fecal coliform test estimates population of coliforms as an indicator of contamination.

Possible Results

APC/gm; Most Probable number (MPN)/100gm

Reference Range

APC <25 – estimated counts; Fecal – MPN index (<1.8 - > 1600)

Specimen Type

Commercially prepared food or seafood.

Specimen Container(s):

Clean, sterile, waterproof, and puncture resistant.

Minimum volume accepted:

At least 100grams.

Collection Instructions

Samples should be obtained by Sanitarians familiar with the state Sanitary Code.

Storage and Transport Instructions

Keep frozen samples frozen, refrigerated samples <10°C, dry or canned foods that are not perishable at ambient temperature. Deliver to laboratory to begin testing promptly.

Causes for Rejection

  • Sample is submitted in inappropriate container.
  • Sample is submitted in violation of required temperature.
  • Sample is leaking or otherwise compromised.
  • Sample is submitted with no identification or missing collection date or time.
  • Insufficient sample is submitted.

Limitations of the Procedure

Overgrowth by non-coliform bacteria.

Interfering Substances



  1. Laboratory Analysis of Shellfish and Shellfish Growing Water QA Manual. 2004. Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, Office of Public Health, Laboratory Services.
  1. Bacteriological Analytical Manual, Online. 2001.U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Additional Information

Complete LAB 47 submission form.