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Validation of critical limit for cooling rate with regard to spores


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#1 Foosa

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 08:09 AM

Good Morning,

I'm working in a 'traditional' family business comprising of a bakery and a butchery. During our last audit from the FSA the auditor has asked us 'to review the cooling rate and to ensure that the establishment of the critical limits for that CCP is documented. The risk of growth of sporulated bacteria should be specifically identified and controlled at that step. The FBA can justify the critical limits by either using recognised practices backed by scientific papers or by establishing them based in recognised methods such as modelling. Microbiological testing of the product ist unlikely to be able to justify, on its own, the chosen critical limits.'

Products concerned are cooked meat fillings for pasties (cooling down to <5Degree C in a maximum of 6 hrs) and cooked meats (e.g. beef, ham, chines, roast pork - LARGE joints), that are supposed to be cooled down within 14 hours to less than 5 Degree C. 

My problem is that there is obviously guidance for how quick you're supposed to chill your products, but it usually doesn't refer to sporulated bacteria (I very much assume this is Clostridium mainly at this stage) in particular. I'm not familiar with modelling, but had a look and found my hands tied as we don't have pH values available (and company is not really willing to pay much money for additional testing). In some respect I would espect that there should be some pH ranges for those product groups, so I could assume best/worst case scenario?

I had asked another auditor from the FSA and also our lab for advice, but none were able to advice in particular how I could make 'my case'.

Now, as I have looked up on various topics in this forum in the past (and often found helpful information) I wondered whether there's anybody about who's able to give some further advice? I googled what I could to find scientific papers, but wasn't entirely happy with my findings...

Looking forward to any feedback! ;-)

 

Many thanks in advance!


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#2 Charles.C

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 09:12 AM

Hi Foosa,

 

For meat, the historical background is (US-oriented) probably as per this extract -

 

Public Health Regulatory Context

 

The bacterium C. perfringens grows well on meat and poultry products in the absence of oxygen,

and grows best at relatively high temperatures.  Since C. perfringens is ubiquitous in the

environment, sources of raw meat2  are occasionally contaminated with this organism, either in

the form of vegetative cells or as spores. Vegetative cells are destroyed during heating in the

production of RTE foods, though may survive the incomplete cooking used to prepare partially

cooked foods.  Spores, on the other hand, are not destroyed by heat and other processes applied

to RTE foods.  Rather, heat can activate spores to germinate and develop into vegetative cells

capable of growth during the stabilization processes of RTE food manufacture.

Consuming foods contaminated with high levels of certain strains of C. perfringens vegetative

cells (those known as type A, that produce the C. perfringens enterotoxin, CPE) may lead to

diarrheal illness.  Illness is generally mild, and typically self-limiting, lasting one or two days. 

Symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, and some abdominal pain.  No known foodborne illnesses

have been caused by the ingestion of C. perfringens spores; rather, it is necessary to consume the

vegetative cells for illness to occur.

 

As the public health regulatory agency responsible for ensuring the safety and wholesomeness of

meat, poultry, and egg products in the United States, FSIS has taken steps to address C.

perfringens in Agency regulated products.  On January 6, 1999, FSIS published a final rule in the

Federal Register (FSIS Docket No. 95-033F; 64 FR 732) establishing performance standards for

C. perfringens in cooked beef, roast beef, and cooked corned beef products; fully and partially

cooked meat patties; and certain fully and partially cooked poultry products, in an effort to

address the public health risk posed by C. perfringens.  The production requirements for these

products included performance standards limiting multiplication of C. perfringens to a maximum

of 1-log 10  (a factor of 10)3  within the product during RTE food manufacture. 

On February 27, 2001, FSIS published a proposed rule: Performance Standards for the

Production of Processed Meat and Poultry Products [66FR12590, February 27, 2001].  The

intent of this rule with regard to C. perfringens was to extend the existing performance standards

to all RTE and all partially cooked meat and poultry products.

 

2   Throughout this document, “meat” generally means meat or poultry, except for specific cases that should be clear in context, e.g. where referring to an experiment on a specific meat.

3   In this standard jargon, growth is expressed on a base 10 logarithm scale.  So 1-log 10  corresponds to a factor of 10, 2-log 10  corresponds to a factor of 100, 3-log 10  to 1000, 1.7-log10 would be a factor of 50, and so forth.

 

Attached File  Risk Assessment for C. perfringens in RTE and Partially Cooked Meat and Poultry Products,2005.pdf   1.94MB   25 downloads

 

I think you are venturing into a somewhat contentious topic area.

 

The general chilling topic for meat pasta was discussed at some length in this 2011 thread -

 

http://www.ifsqn.com...chilling-stage/

 

(particularly post 4 et seq)

 

I think there is another later thread here discussing joints of meat.

 

I anticipate that you basically need an (up-to-date) official support for yr nominated "joint" time/temp data, it's probably available from USDA site or maybe the "meathaccp" site.


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Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#3 Charles.C

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 09:25 AM

addendum

 

this may also be of interest -

 

Attached File  Supporting documentation, updated (claimed) 2014.doc   1.49MB   17 downloads


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Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#4 Foosa

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Posted 05 October 2017 - 01:13 PM

Thanks, Charles for this. 

I'll have a look whether I find what I'm looking for. 

 

Ideally I'd like to get away with any modelling or additional micro testing. Hopefully, this will give me enough to refer to?


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#5 Derf

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 03:50 AM

Hi - From an Australian perspective there is a standard (AS: 4696) that specifies cooling rates as below. 

 

13.17 After cooking, meat products that are uncured:
(a) are cooled so that the temperature of the meat products at the site of microbiological concern:
(i) is reduced from 52°C to 12°C within six hours; and
(ii) is reduced to 5°C within 24 hours of completion of cooking.
 
May be possible to refer to it. (or not  :( )

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#6 Foosa

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 09:03 AM

Anything is appreciated at this stage! ;-)

Thanks!


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#7 Foosa

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Posted 08 November 2017 - 10:42 AM

Thanks so much for all the above information. That was pretty helpful (though I'm still not entirely sure whether what I'm compiling together will be accepted by the local (UK) authorities).

Anyway: one more question: I figured out that the cooling of our uncured joints of meat (roast pork and beef) isn't fast enough.

I wondered whether you can advice about your processes to achieve fast cooling in the zone between 48 degree celsius and 12.7 degree celsius. Straight after cooking any meassures (e.g. ice dipping) that I apply only gain time in the temperature zone above 48 degree. Especially our roast pork joints are fairly large. Halving them after cooking isn't really an option as it would dry out the cutting sides and create far more waste. The only possibility that I can currently consider under the given circumstances are to use our blast freezer. But again, I fear that this may only help with the initial temperature drop, but not later on (I may not be able to leave it int he blast freezer for too long or it'll freeze on the outside, but will still be hot on the inside?

 

Any ideas or process examples would be much appreciated!!!

 

Many thanks again in advance!


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