Lots of incoming commercial cod were sampled by six different methods to determine the best one for measuring the bacterial load on the fish. Rinses of similar whole cod gave bacterial counts that were relatively low and quite variable, whereas spraying a rinse against the surface resulted both in higher and in more uniform counts. When similar 5-cm2 areas were sampled, bacterial counts obtained by swabbing respresented 35% ad scraping represented 46% of that obtained from the excised surface.
Counts differed more between the lots of fish than between fish or between portions of the same fish. Swabbing appears to be a practical method of sampling in-line processing of fish, as it is non-destructive and relatively efficient in removing large and fairly uniform numbers of bacteria.