In the 1960’s there was growing recognition of foodborne disease and greatly increased microbiological testing of foods. This, in turn, created unforeseen problems in international trade in foods. Different analytical methods, sampling plans of doubtful statistical validity were being used. Furthermore, analytical results were interpreted using different concepts of biological significance and acceptance criteria, creating confusion and frustration for both the food industry and regulatory agencies. In this environment ICMSF was founded to: (a) assemble, correlate, and evaluate evidence about the microbiological safety and quality of foods; (b) consider whether microbiological criteria would improve and assure the microbiological safety of particular foods; (c) propose, where appropriate, such criteria; and (d) recommend methods of sampling and examination.
Historical papers about the ICMSF are available.