This is the highly anticipated third edition of a book written by the Working Party on Culture Media of the International Committee on Food Microbiology and Hygiene. It is a handy reference for microbiologists wanting to know which media to use for the detection of various groups of microbes in foods and how to check the performance of the media. The book is divided into two parts and concentrates on media for water as well as food microbes - selecting those which have been evaluated and shown to function optimally. The first part consists of a series of chapters written by various experts from all over the world, reviewing the media designed to detect the major groups of microbes important in food spoilage, food fermentations and food-borne disease. The history and rationale of the selective agents and indicator systems used, as well as the relative merits of the various media are surveyed by reference to the scientific literature. The second part contains monographs on almost 100 of the media considered most useful. Each monograph, written in the style of a pharmacopoeia, includes: a short section on the history and selective principle of the medium; a method for its preparation from basic ingredients; its appearance and physical properties, including pH; its shelf-life; instructions concerning method of inoculation, incubation and interpretation; the recommended method(s) and a list of test strains suitable for assessing the quality (productivity and selectivity) of the medium and a description of the typical appearance of the target organism.