Cosmetics Branch

Microbiological purity and challenge testing

Microbiological purity of cosmetics and personal care products play a key role to determine their safety. Microbiology testing services help to minimize the risk of potential damage. Therefore manufacturer should maintain microbiological quality of products as industry is constantly challenged to develop safe, effective, and compliant products that meet the requirements of both legislation and consumers.


We provide a consumer with accredited testing for identification of microorganisms to meet requirements:

  • EN ISO 21149 – general guidelines for enumeration microorganisms
  • EN ISO 22718 – detection of Staphylococcus aureus in cosmetics
  • EN ISO 22717 – detection of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in cosmetics
  • EN ISO 18416 – detection of Candida albicans in cosmetics
  • EN ISO 21150 – detection of Escherichia coli in cosmetics
  • EN ISO 16212 – enumeration of yeast and mold in cosmetics


Preservative challenge testing guarantee that preservatives will protect and prevent cosmetics spoilage during normal and reasonably foreseeable product use. The ability of a preservative system to protect the product from microbial growth and degradation must be established through microbial challenge testing of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aurerus, Candida albicans, Aspergillus brasiliensis and further observation.


Challenge testing involves the evaluation of antimicrobial efficacy of the preservative system in accordance with the relevant standards:

  • International Standard ISO 11930
  • European Pharmacopoeia (EP) Chapters 5.1.3
  • The Schülke Koko Test


Challenge testing is carried out on production stages and to ensure microbial stability and preservation during storage and use:

  • product development process (to select required preservative)
  • during production (to assess whether the technological manufacture process has a negative effect on the preservative system and it efficiency)
  • to protect the product in case of during manufacture process or while further consumer use
  • to assess environmental strains microbiologically detrimental