All these tests are largely measures of equivalency, in that for each one the outcome, however compared, is expected to be the same within the limitation of microbiological methods. However, they are all performed to some extent on "artificial" samples (e.g., type culture collection organisms, pure cultures, predominantly laboratory adapted strains). This is not normally the situation where either conventional or rapid methods are used. Here, multiple organisms will be found, many will be fastidious in their nutritive requirements or will be stressed or sublethally damaged by the environment from which they are being isolated. Equivalency looks at the comparability of the methods, when used side by side, analysing the routine samples. If the samples are process or purified water, then comparison of daily samples over a period of 28 days could be used to demonstrate equivalency. If they are product, then at least three different lots of each one sampled should be compared.
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