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#1 earthworminmysoup

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Posted 16 May 2011 - 03:26 PM

Afternoon all,

Are there any guidelines on levels of bacteria to be expected from sampling operatives hands. We currently carry out hand hygiene by asking staff to press their fingers and thumb onto an agar plate containing McConkey Agar. This gives us numbers of cfu/per finger!!!! for coliforms and Staph.

Isn't everyones natural microflora different? Some people may carry lots of one type of bug and none of the other.

Should we expect hands to be clear if they have carried out correct handwashing and then dosed with alcohol gel?

Peoples hands come into contact with all sorts during a shift and it is not unreasonable to expect some bacteria on hands.

The difficulty I'm having is what targets to set and then that will drive corrective actions. Again not suer what these would be, perhaps referesher training on handwash procedure. My current thoughts are to carry out extensive sampling to get a picture of current levels across all areas and all job types. With this I could then establish level that can be reasonably expected.

Any ideas?

Thanks,

The Worm



#2 Charles.C

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Posted 16 May 2011 - 04:57 PM

Dear earthW,

Dare one ask what kind of process you are working with, it's often relevant, eg pizzas or a slaughterhouse ?

A popular (average) answer in many of the numerous threads here on this subject is "APC" max.100cfu but i forget the "per" unit, probably cm2? however you can find US standards and some others which are much, much lower.

Never seen anyone go to the finger level before. :smile:

McConkey! A real blast from the past! :biggrin: Do you hv Petrifilm in Poland ?

And you are correct in that micro.textbooks typically suggest that it is important to quantitate yr locality to attain a realistic target, eg a ballpark maximum level on surfaces of ,say, 10% of the product APC in contact, as a starter. I hv also seen this kind of simple logic used for hospital surface deliberations. One difficulty IMEX is that the typical magnitude of variation in the results may defeat any close statistical analysis of the type you mention although it maybe depends on the process again.

Rgds / Charles.C

PS For some typical (varied) data can try this link -

http://www.ifsqn.com...dpost__p__22352

and -
http://www.ifsqn.com...dpost__p__23301

Above is mostly data for work-surfaces and not hands but i think the average results are sort of "carried over" :rolleyes:


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#3 GMO

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Posted 16 May 2011 - 05:02 PM

Hmm! Interesting method! The fingertips aren't always the parts of the hands which aren't washed well, I would suggest swabbing would be a better method ensuring you swab between the fingers, backs of hands etc. Can I ask why you've gone for contact plates rather than swabbing?



#4 earthworminmysoup

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 12:43 PM

Thanks for the links Charles, very helpful :smarty: . I work in a very low risk food category with very well preserved end products. I have enough data to ascertain a target of acceptability, I think :biggrin:.

McConkey, yes very traditional I know, but it's cost effective.





Dear earthW,

Dare one ask what kind of process you are working with, it's often relevant, eg pizzas or a slaughterhouse ?

A popular (average) answer in many of the numerous threads here on this subject is "APC" max.100cfu but i forget the "per" unit, probably cm2? however you can find US standards and some others which are much, much lower.

Never seen anyone go to the finger level before. :smile:

McConkey! A real blast from the past! :biggrin: Do you hv Petrifilm in Poland ?

And you are correct in that micro.textbooks typically suggest that it is important to quantitate yr locality to attain a realistic target, eg a ballpark maximum level on surfaces of ,say, 10% of the product APC in contact, as a starter. I hv also seen this kind of simple logic used for hospital surface deliberations. One difficulty IMEX is that the typical magnitude of variation in the results may defeat any close statistical analysis of the type you mention although it maybe depends on the process again.

Rgds / Charles.C

PS For some typical (varied) data can try this link -

http://www.ifsqn.com...dpost__p__22352

and -
http://www.ifsqn.com...dpost__p__23301

Above is mostly data for work-surfaces and not hands but i think the average results are sort of "carried over" :rolleyes:



#5 earthworminmysoup

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 12:51 PM

Afternoon GMO,

We went for contact plates for a couple of reasons really. Firstly the test requires no further processing, simply incubate the plate and read off. Secondly the sampling is a little less intrusive and gets employees on board rather than being negative about the process.

Ultimately the sampling, for us is an educational excercise / tool rather than data that would cause us to act with regard to food safety issues. It's a method to encourage handwashing and a deterrent to those who don't. As mentioned in my reply to Charles our product is low risk and well preserved. I now finding myself asking if there is any point carrying on this task.



Hmm! Interesting method! The fingertips aren't always the parts of the hands which aren't washed well, I would suggest swabbing would be a better method ensuring you swab between the fingers, backs of hands etc. Can I ask why you've gone for contact plates rather than swabbing?






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