Our Approach

The ICMSF provides basic scientific information through extensive study and makes recommendations without prejudice based on that information. Results of the studies are published as books, discussion documents or refereed papers.

The ICMSF functions as a small “working group” of elected members and invited consultants, not a forum for the reading of papers or political debate. We are an action-oriented group with a history of evaluating issues and making timely contributions on newly emerging food safety concerns. The Commission has performed in-depth studies on all essential aspects relating to microbiological specifications for foods such as: methods of analysis, sampling plans, and microbiological limits. In recent years, the Commission has worked to improve the microbiological safety of food through its books and other scientific publications, by participating in symposia and workshops, recommending sampling plans and microbiological criteria, and defining and promoting the use of GHP, HACCP and other systems of managing food safety.

To address important regional issues, the ICMSF may establish regional Subcommissions. These Subcommissions follow the operating principles of the ICMSF while addressing microbiological problems particular to their regions.

The Commission meets annually and since 1962, over 50 meetings have been held in numerous countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, England, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, USA, the former USSR, Venezuela, and the former Yugoslavia. During its meetings, Commission members frequently participate in symposia organised by microbiologists or public health officials of the host country.

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The ICMSF raises its own funds to support its meetings. Support has been obtained from government agencies, WHO, International Union of Microbiological Societies and International Union of Biological Societies), and the food industry (over 100 food companies and agencies in 20 countries). Grants for specific projects and seminars / conferences have been provided by a variety of sources. Some funds are received from the sale of its books.

ICMSF membership currently consists of 18 food microbiologists from 13 countries. Members’ professional experience includes research, process development, public health, agriculture, food technology, quality control, and education. We also seek assistance from an extensive network of consultants considered to be experts in various areas of food microbiology. Members, as well as consultants, are selected based on their technical expertise, not as national delegates. All work is voluntary and without honoraria.