A contemporary survey of the microbiological profile of five milled cereal grains—wheat, corn, oats, whole wheat, and durum—was conducted largely from 2003 to 2005, with routine laboratory data obtained by North American dry-milling operations. When compared to data reported in the previous century, the contemporary data showed similar or reduced quantitative counts for indicator tests (e.g., total aerobes, yeasts, molds, coliforms, and Escherichia coli) as well as a substantially lower incidence of salmonellae. The implementation of modern management systems for the control of food quality and safety, i.e., good agricultural practices, good manufacturing practices, and the hazard analysis critical control point system, together with the excellent microbiological profiles, has eliminated the need for microbiological specifications and lot acceptance criteria for milled cereal grains. Instead, microbiological monitoring guidelines, such as the periodic testing of aerobic plate counts and mold counts, can be used to verify compliance with the requirements of food quality and food safety management systems.

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