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SC 9 'Microbiology' of ISO/TC 34 'Food products' covers the development of methods in the field of microbiological analysis of the food chain from primary production stage to food and feed products including food production and handling.

SC 9 focuses its work on spoilage, pathogenic micro-organisms (including their toxins), viruses and parasites. Horizontal topics such as development of standard for genomic analysis as well as general standard for method validation are included in the scope of the SC 9.

This webpage contains various sections to cover news (hot topic), on-going projects, guidelines and relevant information to contact committee manager as well as chairperson.

Cooperation with European standardization (CEN)

Since 1991, CEN/TC 463 ‘Microbiology of the food chain’ (previously named CEN/TC 275 "Food Analysis - Horizontal methods" WG 6 "Microbiology") has been developing CEN- and ISO-standards in close cooperation with ISO/TC 34/SC 9 "(Food products) – Microbiology", under the CEN/ISO Cooperation Agreement called Vienna Agreement. It also works in close contact with the Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) of the European Commission in order to establish priority works for standardization but also to take into account the needs for the implementation of European regulations in the field of food chain safety (in particular the EC Regulation 2073/2005 modified on microbiological criteria) and for consumers’ protection. 


Currently, given the need of reference documents in the field of food chain microbiology at worldwide level, most common CEN- and ISO-standards are prepared with ISO lead and adopted by CEN, this strengthens the international standardization system represented by ISO as priority. CEN Members and their experts participate actively in working groups (WGs) of ISO/TC 34/SC 9, as well as European Union Reference Laboratories (EURLs) on behalf of the European Commission, being even in some cases WG convenors or Project Leaders. Certain standards are prepared under CEN lead in its WG 1: General requirements relating to PCR methods, WG 2: Shiga toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC), WG 3: Campylobacter, WG 5: Improvement of pre-enrichment.

In addition to the standardization of methods, CEN/TC 463 participates to the continuous effort to validate standards. Thus, CEN/TC 463 was the coordinator of the CEN Mandate M381, 2010-2017. This mandate enabled European and international validation of 15 main reference methods in microbiology of the food chain. The results of these validation studies were published in a special Issue of the International Journal of Food Microbiology (Int J Food Microbiol. Special Issue; 2019 Jan 2; 288; pp 1-101 and Int J Food Microbiol. 2021, 354, article 109319).

According to the CEN/CENELEC Internal Regulations, all national standards organizations being CEN members are bound to implement European Standards by adopting them as national standards, either by publication of an identical text translated in the national language or by endorsement, and conflicting national standards shall be withdrawn. It ensures a high level of harmonisation within CEN members.


Learn more about CEN standardization and CEN/TC 463 on the CEN website (https://www.cencenelec.eu/areas-of-work/cen-sectors/food-and-agriculture/agricultural-farming-fishing-forestry-and-related-products/)


Related ISO pages

TC 34/SC 9 page on iso.org

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ISO/TC 34/SC 9 video

Discover ISO/TC 34/SC 9 scope and activities in standardization with our introducing video