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Swabbing in Baked Goods


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#1 Amber McCreary

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 04:10 PM

I work for a company that produces baked goods. (Bread, muffins, bun, bagels, etc) We have been swabbing for the last two-three years to fulfill a BRC requirement. My question is what exactly should we be swabbing for? I have gotten mixed answers as to the minimum.

Currently swabbing for:

T.BACTERIA - SWAB PETRIFILM 990.12

Analyst: BRM Aerobic Plate Count Swab ISO A

(LISTERIA - SPP 2004.06

Analyst: BRM Listeria spp. Swab ISO A) DRAINS ONLY

MOLD - SWAB PETRIFILM 997.02M

Analyst: BRM Mold Swab ISO A

YEAST - SWAB PETRIFILM 997.02Y

Analyst: BRM Yeast

Areas Testing (Bi-Annually)

Air

Water

Drains

Several Food Contact Surfaces

**Please help us make sense of what we need and what we are looking for.**


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#2 Charles.C

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 11:17 PM

Dear QAMB,

My question is what exactly should we be swabbing for?


I hv never heard of the species T.bacteria ? :smile:

My guess is that a part (major/minor?) of the answer is legislatory to USA.

A specific answer is difficult without data. :smile:

Rgds / Charles.C

Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#3 Cathy

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 11:28 AM

First check your custoemr requirements. Sometimes this is what drives testing programs. There is not a legal requirement to test. You should only test when the results are teaching you something or validating something about your process and programs. Water testing is typically required at least annually by third party audits. Water samples should be taken from near the point of use. Product and contact surface testing programs should be designed to add value to your food safety program. If the data is not helping you - reconsider the entire program.

[


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#4 Amber McCreary

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 07:50 PM

Dear QAMB,



I hv never heard of the species T.bacteria ? :smile:

My guess is that a part (major/minor?) of the answer is legislatory to USA.

A specific answer is difficult without data. :smile:

Rgds / Charles.C


Charles,

(T.Bateria = Total Bacteria (Total Plate Count))
We are doing the swabbing because of it being an industry standard and BRC requirment based on risk assessment (my understanding). As a company I guess we're hoping to ensure our manufacturing lines are clean and free of contaminates. We have a kill step (the oven) but between the oven and packaging in the main area of concern.

Excuse my ignorance a little, we are still learning, what data do we need? and where abouts can we find it?

Amber
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#5 Amber McCreary

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 07:56 PM

First check your custoemr requirements. Sometimes this is what drives testing programs. There is not a legal requirement to test. You should only test when the results are teaching you something or validating something about your process and programs. Water testing is typically required at least annually by third party audits. Water samples should be taken from near the point of use. Product and contact surface testing programs should be designed to add value to your food safety program. If the data is not helping you - reconsider the entire program.

[



Cathy,

As far as customer requirements most just ask "do you swab?" I am not sure that we have any customers that specifically ask that we do swabbing. As far as validating we just want to make sure we are producing the safest product possible as a company. Like I was saying to Charles we have a kill step (the oven) I'm guess our main concern would be after that. Right now the only testing we are doing is what I named above along with swabbing in the CIP systems. Should we switch out of these (keeping area, water, & drains) and go to sanitation swabs like ATP in your opinion? We have a 1-2 years worth of data that we are not doing anything with at this point unfortunately. I agree if we can't use it we need to relook at our program as a whole.

Amber
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#6 Cathy

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 10:02 PM

I don't see that swabbing is specifically a BRC requriement. Verification and validation are requried. So, make sure your program is designed to validate something. if it is sanitation, use it for that purpose and swab at pre-op. if it is to verify general practices, design the sampling and review the sample results with that in mind. If post kill step contamination is your concern and you are specifically concerned about pathogens consider an environmental monitoring program for those pathogens. If you are swabbing "based on risk assessment" - I suggest you review that risk assessment to be sure you know what specific risks are the concern and if you are really answering the questions. Focus on - what do you need to verify, validate, study or prove...and then design a program that does that. Don't just swab because someone said you should.


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#7 GMO

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 06:47 AM

From memory in my last role I think we swabbed for TVC, Y, M, Salmonella and Listeria.

I think the limits, again from memory might have been 100, 1000, 1000, ND, ND respectively.

Can anyone else share their limits they've worked to? The above was in cheese but I've worked to TVC, Salmonella, Listeria (and I think enteros but I can't remember the limits) to limits of 100, ND, ND in ready meals before.



#8 Dr Ajay Shah

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 12:53 PM

As this is a normal baked product comprising of breads, muffins, buns, bagels etc then there is no need to condust Listeria spp and Salmonella spp testing.

All you need are the following tests:

SPC or TVC < 100,000 cfu/gram
Yeast and Mould < 100 cfu / gram
Bacillus cereus < 100 cfu / gram
Coagulase positive Staphylococcus < 100 cfu/gram

Please refer to the attached for detailed information on limits:

http://www.wowlink.c...pdf?MOD=AJPERES

I also suggest that you conduct environmental swabs of food contact surfaces and equipment for SPC and coliforms. After cleaning and sanitation the SPC should be < 100/ swab and Coliforms should be < 10/swab

I hope all this helps.

Ajay Shah
http://www.aasfood.com


Dr Ajay Shah.,
BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD, PGCE(FE)
Managing Director & Principal Consultant
AAS Food Technology Pty Ltd
www.aasfood.com


#9 GMO

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 03:22 PM

Thanks for the reference. Useful but I really want a reference on the swab limits. Also it's important to establish what sized area is swabbed (normally 10 cm x 10 cm ie 100cm2 IME)?



#10 Charles.C

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 03:55 PM

Dear All,

Perhaps it should be remembered that the original post is from USA.

The specs suggested by AS represent a typical guideline for the stated parameters IMO but may be simply not correct legislatory-wise. Not quite sure why one would not test for L.monocytogenes/Salmonella despite woolworths disinterest, often a blanket legislatory requirement IMEX (not bread man though) but I hv no idea USA ?
In truth the numerical spec. is rather meaningless in operational terms without a sampling plan ? (and a [perhaps] more "representative" reference [not being ungrateful, just cautious :smile:] )

The recommendations for swab limits vary over amazing ranges as can be seen from the many posts here. Makes it even more important to attach units. I get the feeling that ATP is a more preferred route these days, if one has the money. And maybe there is less disagreement over the numbers ??

Rgds / charles.c


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C





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