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An international comparative study, undertaken by six laboratories to assess the performance of four selective media commonly used for the enumeration of Staphylococcus aureus in foods, revealed that Baird-Parker agar performed most satisfactorily. There was no significant difference among milk salt, tellurite polymyxin egg yolk, and kalium rhodanid - actidione - natriumazid - eigelb - pyruvat (KRANEP) agars. The type of food examined appeared to influence the performance of the media, but no specific patterns could be determined. Cultures yielding 3+ and 4+ coagulase reactions are most likely to possess thermostable nuclease activity, and are therefore most likely to be S. aureus.