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Is microbial toxin a biological or chemical hazard?


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#1 Nawin1

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 05:48 AM

Hi,

I have a question on basic hazard classification.
Is microbial toxin a biological or chemical hazard, since the source is from living organism should we consider as biological or toxin as such is a chemical should we consider as chemical hazard?


Regards,
Nawin



#2 Charles.C

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 06:26 AM

Hi,

I have a question on basic hazard classification.
Is microbial toxin a biological or chemical hazard, since the source is from living organism should we consider as biological or toxin as such is a chemical should we consider as chemical hazard?


Regards,
Nawin


Dear Navin,

Based on previous discussions here, you can take yr pick. Personally I prefer chemical although it is obviously a biochemical entity.

Rgds / Charles.C

Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#3 Gunapathi

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 08:50 AM

Hi Navin,
It is biological hazard and as you have mentioned without microbes in there first there woun't be any toxin.



#4 Tony-C

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 12:51 PM

Hi Nawin,

I would have to agree with Charles & disagree with Gunapathi - Chemical hazard.

My main reasoning would be that the toxin can be present without the microorganism, this is of particular concern for materials at risk whose handling has been outside of our control, which is why supplier assurance is so important.

This does not mean that we don't take measures to control the microorganism, for instance in fermented products it is important to prevent the growth of Staphylococcus aureus as it can form toxin formation during incubation.

Kind regards,

Tony



#5 maurocon

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 01:22 PM

IMO No microorganisms... no toxins.
So (bacterial) toxins are a biological hazard, even if the bacteria are no more present into (or onto) the food.
Certainly (bio)toxins are chemical compounds, but they are produced by microorganisms. This is the difference with other chemical contaminants.

bye
m



#6 Tony-C

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 03:10 AM

'No microorganisms... no toxins'

This is the problem toxin can be present without the microorganism so you can't detect it if you are only looking for the microorganism.



#7 MM1

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 04:18 AM

Hi Nawin,



I would agree with Tony-C and consider Toxin as chemical hazard and microbes causing the toxin production as biological hazard. Any control measure against microbes may not help in reducing the toxin level if it is already present.


MM




#8 moskito

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 01:07 PM

Hi,

discussions below demonstrate different type of views - from the origin (biological) or the nature (chemical) In my opinion it is a more or less philosophical discussion with respect to HACCP.
no microorganism (e.g. Staph. aureus) - no toxin
microorganism present - no toxin (Staph can grow without producing toxin)
no microorganism (organisms removed) - toxin possible
etc.

Independent whether you define a toxins as a biological or a chemical hazard you have to define measures for conmtrolling the hazard due to micro and due to toxin. What does the classification help?

I have classified both the mircos and the toxins as biological (origin view).

Hi,

I have a question on basic hazard classification.
Is microbial toxin a biological or chemical hazard, since the source is from living organism should we consider as biological or toxin as such is a chemical should we consider as chemical hazard?


Regards,
Nawin



#9 Tony-C

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 01:52 PM

Hi,

discussions below demonstrate different type of views - from the origin (biological) or the nature (chemical) In my opinion it is a more or less philosophical discussion with respect to HACCP.

Independent whether you define a toxins as a biological or a chemical hazard you have to define measures for conmtrolling the hazard due to micro and due to toxin. What does the classification help?

I have classified both the mircos and the toxins as biological (origin view).


Agreed the classification is irrelevant if you understand the hazard.

My concern is people assuming that if the organism is not present there is no hazard, particularly with incoming materials.

Regards,

Tony

#10 Charles.C

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 08:32 AM

Hi,

discussions below demonstrate different type of views - from the origin (biological) or the nature (chemical) In my opinion it is a more or less philosophical discussion with respect to HACCP.
no microorganism (e.g. Staph. aureus) - no toxin
microorganism present - no toxin (Staph can grow without producing toxin)
no microorganism (organisms removed) - toxin possible
etc.

Independent whether you define a toxins as a biological or a chemical hazard you have to define measures for conmtrolling the hazard due to micro and due to toxin. What does the classification help?

I have classified both the mircos and the toxins as biological (origin view).


Dear moskito,

Bit :off_topic:

I imagine there must hv been a lot of similar philosophical arguments prior to the launching of the subject of "Biochemistry". :smile:

IMEX, it is quite rare to find factory labs routinely testing for SA toxin (not exactly a simple procedure i suspect after a quick look). A few regulationary references I could see do include it as a necessary follow-up in the event of "high" S.aureus levels for obvious reasons however i rather doubt this is commonly done unless there is a specific health-related incident in process. One can also readily get rejections purely based on S.aureus results from bitter experience.

I think a common haccp ploy in the case of SA toxin is that the hazard is simply textually left as "S.aureus" however, as per Tony's comments, this logic has several times been clearly proven unsafe in the detection sense, eg in several canning incidents.

One can also get some interesting analogous (internal?) debates over related items such as scombrotoxins, mycotoxins, etc, as in link below.

A USFDA viewpoint is illustrated here -

http://www.fda.gov/F...9/ucm188363.htm
(stated as based on "Chemical hazards may be naturally occurring or may be added during the processing of food. High levels of toxic chemicals may cause acute cases of foodborne illness, while chronic illness may result from low levels.")
added/expanded - Note that (annex4,table1) "Staphylococcus aureus(preformed heat stable toxin)" is within "Biological" hazards( and similarly B.cereus, E.coli O157 )whereas some other, also biochemically produced toxins, are (annex4,table2) in "Chemical". A quiet compromise for convenience maybe.

As an additional permutation, there is an elegant support (2012) for mycotoxins to be in "Biological" here -
http://www.foodquali...CCP_System.html

Despite my personal reservations, it seemed to me after a look around the net that SA (with or without the textual "toxin" tag) is most frequently put into "Biological" in contrast to the other toxins mentioned above in annex4table2 which more frequently are housed in "Chemical" hazards.

As previously suggested here, this quote is perhaps a simple summary -

2. Explanatory Note:
Students may ask why some hazards are classified as chemical rather than biological. The best answer is tradition. It is important to stress, however, that the significant issue is not the actual classification of a hazard, but accurate identification and control.


http://www.iit.edu/i...irstedition.pdf
(pg13

And next comes Allergens.

Rgds / Charles.C

Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#11 Dalways

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 12:04 PM

Hi . Its a Biological Hazard. Chemical hazard is all about controled chemicals on site , not the toxic chemical released by thye microorganisms.



#12 Charles.C

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 08:49 AM

Hi . Its a Biological Hazard. Chemical hazard is all about controled chemicals on site , not the toxic chemical released by thye microorganisms.


Dear Debadutta,

It may depend on what product/process you are referring but this seems rather contrary to the intended pro-active concept of HACCP. For example - auditing of suppliers.

Rgds / Charles.C

Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#13 Cravin' Cajun?

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 07:01 PM

I agree with Tony-C and MM1 - would consider the toxin itself as a chemical hazard and the microorganism causing the toxin as a biological hazard.



#14 Tony-C

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 02:27 PM

Hi . Its a Biological Hazard. Chemical hazard is all about controled chemicals on site , not the toxic chemical released by thye microorganisms.


This lack of understanding is the reason I posted this comment:

My concern is people assuming that if the organism is not present there is no hazard, particularly with incoming materials.

Regards,

Tony






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