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#1 moskito

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 03:35 PM

Hi everbody,

we are a biscuit manufacturer. Most most the products are heat treated (baked), but some are covered with chocolate. In our personell hygiene monitoring we have included twice a yera a testing for Salmonella spec. and Staph aureus. Because some of our workers have contact to animals (e.g. horses) they are positive tested on Staph. in their noses. Now I want to skip this tests on Staph. because I am not able to control this or exclude workers from work.
Is this argumentation sufficient? Or how to verify that Staph is not e real risk. We never had a problem with Staph in the past.



#2 Charles.C

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 01:49 AM

Hi everbody,

we are a biscuit manufacturer. Most most the products are heat treated (baked), but some are covered with chocolate. In our personell hygiene monitoring we have included twice a yera a testing for Salmonella spec. and Staph aureus. Because some of our workers have contact to animals (e.g. horses) they are positive tested on Staph. in their noses. Now I want to skip this tests on Staph. because I am not able to control this or exclude workers from work.
Is this argumentation sufficient? Or how to verify that Staph is not e real risk. We never had a problem with Staph in the past.


Dear moskito,

I guess yr main query is regarding Staphylococcus aureus (coag.+ve presumably).

I presume you hv a product specification. If so, it probably includes a limit for S.aureus (SA). ??

Since this value is safety related, it requires that contamination from sources presenting a significant risk of contributing to the final result must be controlled. Obviously an RTE product increases the potential consumer risk from yr overall process in the event of any cross-contamination.

The specific safety significance of SA with respect to an assessment of work fitness for personnel has been previously discussed here (and in textbooks) and, from memory, conclusions can be complicated depending on various factors. For example, from memory again, for some products / manufacturers / geographical- process locations, the repeated detection of SA in a specific body location such as the hand prevents employment of that worker. Other situations may be different.

Local regulations for RTE products may well control yr actions.?

Not sure I follow yr logic regarding horses / nose testing. IMEX the risk analysis is more usually, initially anyway, directed to likely direct food contact areas, eg hands. Do you hv SA results for this at different work locations, eg before / after heat treatment steps ? Do yr workers use “food-approved” disposable gloves ?

How about other results of worker hygiene testing, eg APC, Enterobacteriaceae ?

Rgds / Charles.C

Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#3 Colbert

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 02:24 AM

Hello,

You mentioned you produce biscuits, what kind ? What is the Aw ?

I would not necrssary focus on SA on low humidity product...

Rgds

RMI



#4 HPG

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 01:43 AM

Hi everbody,

we are a biscuit manufacturer. Most most the products are heat treated (baked), but some are covered with chocolate. In our personell hygiene monitoring we have included twice a yera a testing for Salmonella spec. and Staph aureus. Because some of our workers have contact to animals (e.g. horses) they are positive tested on Staph. in their noses. Now I want to skip this tests on Staph. because I am not able to control this or exclude workers from work.
Is this argumentation sufficient? Or how to verify that Staph is not e real risk. We never had a problem with Staph in the past.


Dear moskito,

In which section that the workers who have positive tested for SA? before or after baking?
If the workers work in after baking section, you can move to non food contact section.

If you want to skip SA testing, you must justify your action.
You can try to test aw to your product. Min aw for SA growth is 0.86.
It's more simple than you have to check your product for SA.

Rgds,
Hadi

#5 foodsafetyboy

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 08:18 AM

Hi everbody,

we are a biscuit manufacturer. Most most the products are heat treated (baked), but some are covered with chocolate. In our personell hygiene monitoring we have included twice a yera a testing for Salmonella spec. and Staph aureus. Because some of our workers have contact to animals (e.g. horses) they are positive tested on Staph. in their noses. Now I want to skip this tests on Staph. because I am not able to control this or exclude workers from work.
Is this argumentation sufficient? Or how to verify that Staph is not e real risk. We never had a problem with Staph in the past.


Hi Moskito,

Everyone is positive in Staphylococcus aureus, I assume you mean the results for SA is above the specified allowable criteria.
The largest reservoir of enterotoxin producing staphylococci is man, so whether or not they are in contact with animals they will still carry staphylococcus aureus. However, this can be controlled or prevented from ending up on your food(post baking contamination) with the proper use of PPE (personal protective equipment), Good hygiene practices and staff awareness and training.
Try sending your sample for microbiological analysis testing for the presence of staph. Presence indicates poor hygiene practices

Regards,
FSB

#6 Charles.C

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 01:47 AM

Everyone is positive in Staphylococcus aureus


Maybe, but not necessarily in a food safety relevant location.

There is one quite lengthy discussion on the general topic of S.aureus / worker's hands here -

http://www.ifsqn.com...dpost__p__48808

Rgds / Charles.C

Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#7 foodsafetyboy

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 06:13 AM

Maybe, but not necessarily in a food safety relevant location.

There is one quite lengthy discussion on the general topic of S.aureus / worker's hands here -

http://www.ifsqn.com...dpost__p__48808

Rgds / Charles.C


Thank you very much Charles,
:smile:

I agree with you, I should have specified the first sentence of my comment. Staphylococcus aureus is frequently found as part of the normal skin flora on the skin and nasal passages

Regards, FSB

#8 moskito

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 10:31 PM

Hello,

You mentioned you produce biscuits, what kind ? What is the Aw ?

I would not necrssary focus on SA on low humidity product...

Rgds

RMI


Hello,

thanks for the response. Looking into the answers I have to specify my question:
  • due to baking I don't see a risk for SA in the final product. The Aw is low, no growth possible for bacteria
  • in hygiene area handwashing/desinfection is routine, but no gloves
  • testing of workers is done 1 times per year in the first two month of the year (planned like Salmonella testing) and control of hands several times a year in production (at washing/desinfection station or at work) -> SA positive workers found (even with gloves what we have tested in single cases) -> in most cases they have horses at home (doctor had done once a medication with antibiotics, but that is not an acceptable treatment (no illness, reinfection or better recontamination at any time at home while handling the animals etc).
  • re-infection of hands after desinfection possible due to nose picking, unintended and annoticed by the workers themselve
  • we are using residual dough after a certain time of storage under controlled conditions
  • hygiene training of these people include this behavioral point of unintended nose picking
  • if infection of dough would occur, growth and toxin production is theoretically possible; in principle dough would be contaminated on the surface
  • due to baking SA would be inactivated, endotoxin not
  • Til now I have no good idea to validate the surface infection/growth on dough over several time (points) of storage under standardized lab condition to demontrate that is not a real risk (what my feeling is)
Any idea to overcome this problem?
Thanks for response

#9 Charles.C

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Posted 29 July 2012 - 06:29 AM

Dear moskito,

IMO, there are 2 issues – (1) the (food-handling) employee’s personal hygiene status and (2) the product itself.

These will typically hv their own “basic” acceptance micro. criteria although the values for (1) may be influenced by (2).

If you are applying a S.aureus / zero tolerance to (1) then, assuming yr “horse” theories are valid, yr OP probably has a rather (obvious) unavoidable conclusion IMO. If otherwise, you need to validate this. For example, IMO, yr proposition that S.aureus (SA) will not be a risk to the final product, even if correct, would not justify ignoring a persistent, high level of SA on worker’s hands, especially after following yr hygiene procedures. Some authorities may comment that any persistent detectable level is unacceptable, eg see my other, previously referenced, forum thread. Unfortunately, like many micro.criteria, there seems to be no absolute consensus on numbers so some research may be necessary unless local regulations already control (?).

Til now I have no good idea to validate the surface infection/growth on dough over several time (points) of storage under standardized lab condition to demontrate that is not a real risk (what my feeling is)
Any idea to overcome this problem??


Yes, you need some data. No doubt you are aware of the production requirements for SA toxin.

Rgds / Charles.C

Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#10 GMO

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 06:57 PM

I would swab the hands for S. aureus, not the nose. Have a policy and train it out on handwashing after touching the nose. Anyone caught picking their nose in a food factory deserves a stern warning and if they continue, the sack. That's unacceptable.

You train it, now enforce it. Simple.






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