Indicator Organisms

Indicator organisms are used to assess overall sanitation or environmental conditions that may signal or indicate the potential presence of pathogens of food safety concern. It is important to note that indicator species are not necessarily pathogenic. Indeed, certain indicator species, such as mold, can be toxic when consumed at a high enough level. 


Many species are completely benign. Mainly, indicator species are used because current test methods for pathogens can be costly and time-consuming, making it highly inefficient to test large batches of product or environmental samples. Indicator species, on the other hand, can be tested for with relative ease, and act as an early-warning system that can signal contamination issues and the need for further diagnostic testing vermox cena. Depending on their application, the major factors considered in classifying an organism as an indicator may include:

  • their strong association with fecal contamination
  • their co-habitation with pathogens of concern
  • simple and efficient testing procedure

Indicator species have two major roles in food testing:

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