Aerobic Plate Count (APC)

Laboratory Fee Schedule

Procedure #: MZZ0385A


Synonym(s): SPC; Standard Plate Count; APC; Aerobic Plate Count
Requisition Form Program provides their own form
Test Description The standard plate count is used to indicate the levels of heterotrophic mesophilic microorganisms in a shellfish product.  This procedure is normally performed in conjunction with fecal coliform determination in shellfish.  The standard plate count can be used as an indicator of general sanitation and of adverse conditions during processing, storage, and transportation.
Pre-Approval Needed Regulatory
Supplemental Information Required


Supplemental Form(s) N/A  
Performed on Specimens from (sources)


Sample/Specimen Type for Testing Oyster Samples (Shucked or Shellstock)
Minimum Volume/Size Required
  • Approximately 12 animals
  • Approximately 100 grams
Storage/Preservation Prior to Shipping
  • Analysis of the samples is initiated as soon as possible after collection.  Shellfish samples are not tested if the time interval between collection and analysis exceeds 24 hours.
  • When conditions require delay in the initiation of the bacteriologic examination, the samples should be kept at a temperature above freezing but below 10°C, except for frozen shucked shellfish, until examined.
  • A temperature control should always be included with shucked, unfrozen oysters.  The temperature control should be between 0.0°C and 10.0°C. However, samples exceeding 10.0°C will be accepted if they have not been in transport long enough to be cooled below 10.0°C.
  • In no case shall samples be tested if they have been held more than 24 hours
  • Shellstock (Unshucked) – Must be shipped on ice or ice packs and arrive at the lab within 24 hours of collection
  • Shucked Shellfish - Samples of shucked shellfish are stored in a sterile container and maintained at a temperature between 0.0°C and 10.0°C, immediately after collection. A temperature control, shucked shellfish, should be included. Take temperature using a thermometer. Record the temperature on the submission forms provided by the submitter. The temperature is measured upon laboratory receipt before refrigeration.
  • Frozen Shucked Shellfish - Package is kept in frozen state until examination.
Transport Medium N/A
Specimen Labeling Sample Identification must match submission form.
Shipping and Specimen Handling Requirements
  • Ship samples on Ice and/or Ice Packs.
  • Samples must be shipped for overnight delivery.
  • Ship according to Dangerous Good Regulations, IATA, and/or CFR 49.
Method Recommended Procedures for the Examination of Sea Water and Shellfish, 4th Edition, 1970. The American Public Health Association
Turn-around Time 14 Days


Common Causes for Rejection
  • insufficient specimen
  • improperly stored
  • failure to meet shipping guidelines
Additional Information N/A