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Surface hygiene - Micro limits for work surfaces


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#1 Focal food

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 07:20 AM

Good morning,

I have been looking at various articles and attempting to find referenced swab counts for surfaces. I seem to have found quite a comprehensive one in a research study published on LACORS (I have attached it).

I am currently just trying to find the US publich health service to see that it is still all valid, but thought other members may appreciate a reference.

Also a question: What do you feel about using surface swab counts as limits for packaging? My feeling is that if it is good enough for a work contact surface it is good enough for packaging and even possibly hands.

Hope you have a good day,

Norah

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Norah Hayes
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#2 Charles.C

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 04:58 PM

Dear focalfood,

Interesting article, thanks. The general situation is that there are a variety of opinions on this subject with considerable variation in Xcfu per cm2. I suggest you try a little searching here for "swab". One extended thread is

http://www.ifsqn.com...?showtopic=9365

and there are several others more recent.

With respect to packaging, no idea about cardboard characteristics but the inner surfaces of typical plastic bags, eg PE, are usually sterile from the heat process - very popular, cheap starter for microbiological sampling analyses :whistle:

Rgds / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#3 Focal food

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 01:00 PM

Thanks Charles!

I would agree on the packaging one. I have some interesting ones currently including packing into muslin cloth, which opens up a slight can of worms when you have no idea on the cotton manufacturing industry.

With regards to standards on surfaces, I have gone through all the threads. This one was usefull in that it actually has a reference ^_^

Have a good remainder of a day!


Norah Hayes
Focal Food
www.focalfood.co.za

#4 Tony-C

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 12:02 AM

Good morning,

I have been looking at various articles and attempting to find referenced swab counts for surfaces. I seem to have found quite a comprehensive one in a research study published on LACORS (I have attached it).

I am currently just trying to find the US publich health service to see that it is still all valid, but thought other members may appreciate a reference.

Also a question: What do you feel about using surface swab counts as limits for packaging? My feeling is that if it is good enough for a work contact surface it is good enough for packaging and even possibly hands.

Hope you have a good day,

Norah


Hi Norah

Thanks for posting the article.

The standards seem to be acceptable apart from cleaning cloths where the standard for Enteros at > 10,000 cfu seems a bit high.

Some interesting points although this is for street vendors:

- There seemed to be a surprisingly high number of fails on Water(Potable :rolleyes: ) and Food containers.
- Plastic boards were no better than wooden ones.
- Vendors with food hygiene training faired no better :notworking:
- Cloths were contaminated which is not a surprise but supposedly disposable cloths faired no better which is a warning to all (They need to be managed)

Finally I would expect packaging to be sterile. As for muslin cloths, sounds like these should be disinfected prior to use.

Kind regards,

Tony :smile:

#5 Simon

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Posted 03 February 2010 - 06:47 PM

Good morning,

I have been looking at various articles and attempting to find referenced swab counts for surfaces. I seem to have found quite a comprehensive one in a research study published on LACORS (I have attached it).

I am currently just trying to find the US publich health service to see that it is still all valid, but thought other members may appreciate a reference.

Also a question: What do you feel about using surface swab counts as limits for packaging? My feeling is that if it is good enough for a work contact surface it is good enough for packaging and even possibly hands.

Hope you have a good day,

Norah

Hi Norah,

A bit late on this but I have some experience of FDA-IMS approval which requires regular micro testing of packaging samples. In my experience it never, ever showed anything. The thing is with packaging you need sufficient surface area and it has to be swabable (word?). Even when you have that I think you are better relying on preventive measures by working with suppliers rather than wasting your time and money swabbing. Just my opinion and experience.

Regards,
Simon

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#6 Tony-C

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Posted 04 February 2010 - 01:17 AM

Hi Norah,

A bit late on this but I have some experience of FDA-IMS approval which requires regular micro testing of packaging samples. In my experience it never, ever showed anything. The thing is with packaging you need sufficient surface area and it has to be swabable (word?). Even when you have that I think you are better relying on preventive measures by working with suppliers rather than wasting your time and money swabbing. Just my opinion and experience.

Regards,
Simon


I have encountered problems from time to time with Yeasts & Moulds in packaging which affected the spoilage of some of my products, especially in extended life foods.

Regards,

Tony




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