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Is microbiological testing needed or not on packaging?


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#1 Tom M

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Posted 02 April 2008 - 08:42 AM

Ok, am gonna fire another one...

We produce thermoformed plastic packaging. Seen the temperature is above 100°c during the forming, would it still be needed to do microbiological testing every once in a while to check if anything is present?

Since there is no food, nor any right circumstances for anything to survive...

Any thoughts?

Thx,

Tom


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#2 Gaskit

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Posted 02 April 2008 - 09:43 AM

Dear Tom,

Again we convert certain types of poly prop for wrapping pizzas and after commencing to take swabs on a monthly basis on the product and equipment utilised for converting the propduct and after hazard analysis and no signs of TVC-Aerobes or Presumptive entero-bacteriaceae cfu/swab (or <10) after 12 months, we reduced the swabs to bi-annually then annually and retain these reports for inspection at the BRC certification audit.

Again it seems to work for us!

Regards,

Steve


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#3 Simon

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 01:03 PM

Hi Tom,

There is no requirement in BRC Packaging for micro testing and also the risk of microbiological contamination is usually very minimal. Pretty much as Steve has confirmed I would recommend having maybe a quarterly microbiological audit at your factory to include settle plates for checking the air and also swabbing of some finished product. Why? Because 1. customers like to see it and 2. the good results will be verification that all of your hygiene systems are working effectively. You can employ a lab to carry out a quarterly audit for a relatively low cost and the frequency and scope of the audit can be amended based on results. TIP: As well as a report containing the raw test results ask the micro audit company to put the findings and any corrective action in layman terms.

For info FDA-IMS Approval (yoghurt/cream lidding) requires monthly samples to be sent for micro testing, but like I said nothing in BRC.

Regards,
Simon


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#4 GMO

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 09:17 PM

As Simon said (lol), there is no requirement but as an indication, I'd expect high risk environments to have <100 TVC and absence of pathogens. Maybe a better thing to do would be occasional hand swabs as it will be people who cause your packaging to become contaminated (and they presumably have to pick it up after your heat step.) I wouldn't get paranoid though, you're likely to have little or no contamination, it might just be a way of enforcing hygiene procedures.


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#5 Charles.C

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 07:19 AM

Dear GMO,

I wouldn't get paranoid though, you're likely to have little or no contamination,


Hmmm. :smile:

I totally agree with yr posted comments (except that 100 TVC seems v.high to me). However I find it rather hard to believe that the plastic producers hv such well- maintained environments. Is the plastic making business more controlled than food establishments (or are all the post-heating stages mainly machine handled) ?

A possible exception to Murphy's Law ?

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#6 Charles Chew

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 10:31 AM

[quote][Is the plastic making business more controlled than food establishments (or are all the post-heating stages mainly machine handled)/quote]
Hello Charles C, I have to agree with GMO that often processed food contact articles (those that are subject to heat treatment forming / extrusion etc) are low risk BUT only to be "re-contaminated" by humans during further handling. The concerns on non-heat processed food contact articles i.e. paper cups (except for sealing section) would certainly confront a diffrent level of control measures.


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#7 cazyncymru

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 09:09 PM

we use polybottles for milk bottling, and we do "bottle rinses" every week.(tvc, entros)

don't usually find anything.

guess who its driven by? yep.....supermarkets!


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#8 rosie

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 12:58 PM

Hi

Regarding contamination of pots after thermoforming - surely no microorganisme are going to survive anyway in the absence of moisture or nutrients.


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#9 Simon

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Posted 11 January 2009 - 07:47 PM

Hi

Regarding contamination of pots after thermoforming - surely no microorganisme are going to survive anyway in the absence of moisture or nutrients.

I tend to agree that the most significant risk to food from food packaging is foreign bodies, especially in pots and not as you say micros. That said I’m sure there are microbiologists who would argue otherwise. Yeasts and moulds can survive and some bacteria can lie dormant as spores to be reawakened when the right conditions prevail, so one must manufacture and supply all food packaging within a system of good hygiene practice.

Welcome to the forums Rosemary. :smile:

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#10 BBrandDesign

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Posted 11 April 2011 - 11:10 AM

Microbiological testing is a direct step of action to increase and maintain quality and hygiene standards. Currently microbiological testing is primarily government driven. However, microbiological testing can also be used by regulators to verify the safety of food products. It plays an integral role in the design and verification of effective food safety systems. Another role for microbiological testing is in verifying the effectiveness of interventions and overall HACCP plans under actual plant conditions.


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#11 GMO

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Posted 11 April 2011 - 12:01 PM

Hi

Regarding contamination of pots after thermoforming - surely no microorganisme are going to survive anyway in the absence of moisture or nutrients.


You'd be surprised. Also I was once visiting (not auditing) a factory making cardboard primary packaging; there was a machine where the blanks were cut out and someone had obviously pushed in the blanks with a boot (dirty footprint!) I was not impressed Posted Image
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#12 Naamfon

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 02:27 AM

I know in BRC standard or many International standard not request about Microbiological test on packaging but some standard request Testing on packaging
as " Not detect pathogen on packaging" I think it maybe come from contaminantion by human or worker during processes or in finished product (It can't grow on package but can live on package and will growing after contact food).
I want to know if we must analysis or testing , What's type of pathogen on packaging should we testing?:unsure:


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#13 Dr Ajay Shah

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 07:16 AM

I would strongly recommend microbiological testing on packaged products which are in going to be in close contact with food as this will indicate whether the manufacturing and handling practices are hygieneic. In addition I would also recommend condusting heavy metal testing (chemical testsing) for packaging that is manufactured in countries such as China and supplied globally.

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#14 Simon

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 08:55 AM

I would not recommend testing samples of all batches, but you should have a rolling microbiological audit plan in place covering.

Settle plates for TVC, Yeasts and moulds
Swabs of product, work surfaces and peoples hands for listeria, salmonella, enteros and e-coli.

Your competent contractor should be able to put alert/action limits to the range of testing and provide a report of the conclusions in layman’s terms for you... I would add an extra part to the report for corrective action taken, date and sign off etc. The results will validate you GMP procedures or will point you to where you need more attention. Customers like to see this even though BRC does not specify micro testing. FDA IMS approval does and monthly product samples need to be tested. I think this is over the top and have always operated the audit on a quarterly basis.

In addition to the micro testing of course there is other testing as mentioned by other members e.g.:

Food contact approval - migration and heavy metal testing - responsibility of supplier of raw material
Ink migration – testing for ink migration through printed packaging and transfer from front to back in winding / stacking – responsibility of converter

Hope this helps.

Regards,
Simon


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#15 foodsafetyboy

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 05:54 AM

Ok, am gonna fire another one...

We produce thermoformed plastic packaging. Seen the temperature is above 100°c during the forming, would it still be needed to do microbiological testing every once in a while to check if anything is present?

Since there is no food, nor any right circumstances for anything to survive...

Any thoughts?

Thx,

Tom


In my opinion, there is no need to have a microbiological test carried for your product, thermoformed plastic packaging (since there are no foods involved). What the customer will ask you is your certificate of analysis / food grade certificate / migration test reports of the latter.

regards, food safety boy
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#16 Micky

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 01:25 PM

Hi all

I work for a manufacturer of PET, HDPE, HIPS and PP plastic packaging for the food industry. Recently, while reviewing our risk assessment, the subject of the likelihood of microbiological contamination was discussed. We all agreed, that even in the unlikely event that the product was contaminated, the organisms would not survive. Well anybody that has done a Risk Assesment knows you need to have some sort of "proof" or scientific evidence to back up your claim. Unfortunately I cannot seem to find any research or testing that has been done to back up our claim. We got a quote from an independant laboratory to inoculate the organisms and then to test our products over a period of time. Unfortunately this is going to prove to be a costly exercise. Has anybody done this exercise or have any literature regarding this topic?

Thanks all.

Michelle


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#17 Charles.C

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Posted 29 September 2011 - 12:39 AM

Dear Micky,

Welcome to the forum :welcome: !

I am not a packaging specialist but the official answer to yr question (at least in EC) appears to be as given in the previous posts in this thread, ie no requirement (this contrasts with, say, sterile pharmaceutical packaging).

However some (EC) ongoing projects on the subject of micro.contam. of food packaging are apparently in progress and a summary of current results (2011) of one such is attached below.

Attached File  some guideline micro.values for hygienic food packaging (2011).pdf   884.9KB   173 downloads

This parallel publication gives some further background / practical detail related to above document -

Attached File  some guideline micro. limits packaging (2) (2011).pdf   130.19KB   165 downloads

Additionally, you may hv specific local legislatory requirements or perhaps for yr intended customer's destination.

For a starter to info. on some official detailed packaging spec. refs + link to another important thread / ref., EC oriented mainly -

http://www.ifsqn.com...dpost__p__48563

Rgds / Charles.C


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#18 MCIAN

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 01:23 AM

Thanks Charles. The guidelines are just what i need since we will be having our in-house micro testing using dip slides.

Any idea if the part 3 - for paper based primary packaging has been finished?


Edited by MCIAN, 27 March 2014 - 01:30 AM.

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#19 Loren

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 12:01 AM

Hi MCIAN,

 

What is this Micro testing dip slides?


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#20 Charles.C

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 02:14 PM

Dear MCIAN

 

Just saw yr post. Sorry delay.

 

Sadly, could not find a part3 as yet.

 

The paper-based area has, directly or indirectly, come up elsewhere on this forum, eg

 

http://www.ifsqn.com...ing/#entry48563

 

http://www.ifsqn.com...-for-packaging/

(eg post 6)

 

Currently, there appears low  concern over microbiological risks in the paperboard area. The reason may be associated with this quote from attachment pk1 below –

Microbiological and Quality Considerations

Although this guidance mainly covers chemical safety, the microbiological safety of recycled  board  also  needs  to  be  considered.  Recycled  board  is  made  by  similar processes  to  virgin  board  and  includes  a  cleaning  and  high  temperature  stage, which  eliminates  microbiological  issues.  Any  issues  with  respect  to  microbiology are therefore the same irrespective of whether recycled material is used or not and are likely to arise from the storage conditions of the board before use.

 

Here are 3 quite informative IMO, recent publications in this general sphere, although all are devoid of micro.data. (There is some overlap with posts in earlier threads  similarly to my earlier post this thread :smile: .)

 

Attached File  pk1 - Guidelines (2014)_use_of_paper_and_board_made_from_recycled_fibres.pdf   259.17KB   32 downloads

Attached File  pk2 - paper and board for food contact (2014).pdf   142.78KB   43 downloads

Attached File  pk3 - UK (2013) EU Carton.Makers Assoc. GMP Guide.pdf   2.82MB   33 downloads

 

Rgds / Charles.C


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