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ISO 21150

Detection of Escherichia coli in Cosmetic product

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ISO 21150 : 2015 – Detection of Escherichia coli in Cosmetic Products

ISO 21150 is established by the International Standards Organization (ISO) for microbiological analysis of cosmetics. ISO 21150 describes test method to detect Escherichia coli contamination in cosmetic products.

The detection of Escherichia coli is done in a non-selective liquid medium (enrichment broth). This is further followed by microbial isolation on a selective agar medium.

Test process of ISO 21150

ISO 21150 Test Method

  • Product samples are dispersed into the enrichment broth to make initial suspension. For water-miscible products, 1 ml of product sample is dispersed in 9 ml of enrichment broth. In the case of water-immiscible products, 1g of product sample is premixed with a dispersing agent (e.g. polysorbate 80) and then dispersed in 9 ml of enrichment broth. While dealing with filterable products, filtration is performed through the membrane and followed by initial suspension preparation.

  • This initial suspension is incubated at 32.5 °C for 20 h and up to a maximum period of 72h.

  • An aliquot of the incubated enrichment broth is streaked onto MacConkey agar medium .

  • Petri dishes are inverted and incubated at 32.5 °C for 24 h and up to a maximum period of 48 h.

  • After incubation, petri plates are examined for colonial morphology of Escherichia coli. This is followed by other suitable, cultural and biochemical tests to confirm the presence of Escherichia coli.

Importance of ISO 21150 Test

As per epidemiological studies, Escherichia coli is one of most commonly isolated pathogens from cosmetic/makeup products. Contamination of skin care products with Escherichia coli is a consequence of improper hygiene practices during manufacturing processes. The external application of such microbially contaminated products can put customers at a risk of skin infection and much more serious concerns.

Thereby, microbial analysis of cosmetic products needs to be carried out to safeguard customer health as well as maintain product quality. ISO 21150 standard employs appropriate sampling techniques and test methods to identify the presence or absence of Escherichia coli in the tested product samples.

At MIS, we offer a full suite of microbiology cosmetics testing services globally.

MIS has a team of experts who create entire frameworks and SOPs for microbiological analysis of cosmetic products. We work closely with our clients to fully understand their unique requirements and deliver tailored solutions.

Our focussed approach is to maintain accuracy and precision in every step of our testing process. Additionally, ISO 21149 also comes within scope of our testing services.

For ISO 21150 testing price and turn around times, contact our experts here.


ISO 21150 is a standard test method for screening of Escherichia coli in cosmetic products. This method aims to ensure product quality and safety of customers.

ISO 21150 test is applicable to cosmetics and personal care products.

ISO 21150 test method takes 1 week to complete.

At Microbe Investigations, we test for ISO 21150 using the following microbial strains: Escherichia coli (ATCC 8739).

Contact us for more information

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