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Handling Unpasteurised Cheese for further processing


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#1 Rachuu

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 02:41 PM

Hi everyone,

We further process Unpasteurised Cheese in the same production area as Pasteurised Cheese. We do not operate time segregation for this. We have done swabs after processing unpasteurised cheese (equipments, table surfaces, personnel) and all swabs have been clear so far.

Is this sufficient to justify that we do not need time segregation for this?
I would need help in getting some references in backing up my food safety risk assesmment for unpasteurised Cheese cutting operation. :helpplease:

thanks



#2 cazyncymru

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 04:43 PM

Hi everyone,

We further process Unpasteurised Cheese in the same production area as Pasteurised Cheese. We do not operate time segregation for this. We have done swabs after processing unpasteurised cheese (equipments, table surfaces, personnel) and all swabs have been clear so far.

Is this sufficient to justify that we do not need time segregation for this?
I would need help in getting some references in backing up my food safety risk assesmment for unpasteurised Cheese cutting operation. :helpplease:

thanks



Do you process both cheeses at the same time? in the same area or after each other on the same machine?
Do you do the pasteurised first and then the unpasteurised?
When you swab, what swabs are you doing? How have you validated that there is no carry over? and which organism are you looking for?

Can you give us more of an outline of what you are doing

Caz x

#3 Rachuu

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 08:26 PM

Hi Caz,

Yes we process the cheeses in the same area.

Just to give you an overview, cheeses at our facility are cut mainly using cutting boards with cheese wires. Each staff is allocated a work table where they are then cut.

These cutting boards/tables etc are cleaned after each product whether it is pasteurised or Unpasteurised

There is no time segregation and there may be instances when pasteurised cheese is cut first or vice versa.

We use sponge swabs and we test for Enteros and Listeria and have had no issues.

Should we be testing for E.coli and salmonella as well?

Thanks



#4 Charles.C

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 04:37 AM

Dear All,

If interested, there is substantial (haccp) background discussion on the cheese process(es) referred in this earlier thread -

http://www.ifsqn.com...dpost__p__56368

(Just to avoid repetitions).

Rgds / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#5 George @ Safefood 360°

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 09:49 PM

The essential issues here are cross contamination risks and 'exposure assessment'. From a very quick search and review of available data, both in my opinon would give risk to concern.

Firstly, there are documented outbreaks associated with unpasturised products for E.Coli0157 (UK & Canada) and Salmonella (France) so this might require you to review your target pathogen list. The infectious dose for E. Coli O157 is very low and this should further drive a review of your risk assessment. In terms of Listeria, public health advice to pregnant women is avoidance of unpateurized cheeses which will reduce the risk but this I believe is not acceptable in terms of you assessment of risk.

Washing of knifes and cutting boards will undoubtedly reduce the risks of cross contamination but this means you are depending on this activity to control risks. It will be very difficult for you to establish this as a CCP. The swabbing data you mention should be considered in light of the fact that you need to know if the unpasteurised product contains pathogens and at what levels before you can use it as validation. This is difficult to do without proper challange testing.

On the other hand we know that significant amounts of unpasteurised cheeses are consumed in countries like France with a low level of associated deaths. However where contamination of a batch of milk for example gets into the supply chain the impacts can be significant. We also know that E Coli O157 outbreaks frequently occur due to cross contamination in the preparation and handing of Ready To Eat products from raw products (meats) and the infectious dose is low.

I think you have a lot to consider in your situation and if it was me I would conduct a very indepth risk assessment using whatever available data you can get your hands on. Personnally I would be seeking to have in place an operational regime which includes separation based on time and an approprate cleaning change over procedure. Just my feeling based on my limited insight into your operation.



George



#6 Take a run

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 09:49 PM

Hi George,
Thanks for sharing your views and suggestions.

We have had HACCP review to discuss this and the risks involved. Due to the nature of our operation it is rather difficult to time segregate (eg: a cheese boards may have a pasteurised and Unpasteurised cheese as a component)

To minimise the risk of xcontamination we have decided to allocate an area specifically for cutting Unpasteurised cheese products with dedicated cutting boards, equipment etc, and use of disposable coats etc and the inbetween cleandowns with routine swabbing.

Will the above steps taken be sufficient?

Thanks



#7 retep

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 10:25 PM

What about packaging machines and storage areas ? Has this been considered in your haccp plans ?



#8 Take a run

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 10:37 PM

Yes, we have. Packaging is usually in polypropylene trays, and the person who cuts the product trays them, which is gas flushed and sealed before being sent out to the warehouse for storage.



#9 Charles.C

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 12:48 PM

Dear Rachuu / TAR,

To elaborate some of George’s comments, I enclose a 2009 extract regarding recent microbiological safety history of cheeses.

Attached File  cheese pathogens.pdf   1.22MB   30 downloads

To minimise the risk of xcontamination we have decided to allocate an area specifically for cutting Unpasteurised cheese products with dedicated cutting boards, equipment etc, and use of disposable coats etc and the inbetween cleandowns with routine swabbing.

Will the above steps taken be sufficient?


I deduce you hv now modified yr operation by segregating the pasteurised / unpasteurised lines. Based on my own seafood experiences, this can be quite a complex procedure if including physical barriers, worker pathways, etc as discusssed in other threads on this forum. From a visual POV you might get more relevant input by providing some specific details as to yr plant layout.

Microbiologically speaking, segregation effectiveness can be assessed by monitoring the micro. quality/safety of yr raw material input / product in addition to doing appropriate environmental swab tests although sampling limitations can affect the capabilites for pathogen detection.

Rgds / Charles.C

Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#10 Charles.C

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 07:35 AM

Dear Rachuu/TAR,

Depending on yr actual product range, you may find the BRC-suggested, post-processing, production zone risk categorisations/comments in the attachment uu1, (eg pg 15) to be of interest within this post –

http://www.ifsqn.com...dpost__p__56833

Other sources may have different risk opinions of course. :smile:

Rgds / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#11 Take a run

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 04:55 PM

Thanks Charles for the very useful links.

Ours is a high care operation.


Can you send me the name of the document for the micro in dairy ?

Thanks



#12 Charles.C

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 07:52 PM

Thanks Charles for the very useful links.

Ours is a high care operation.


Can you send me the name of the document for the micro in dairy ?

Thanks

Dear TAR,

Pls clarify a little. :smile:

Are you referring to a specific document within a post, or typical microbiological specifications for cheese(s) or other dairy products or ???
(If cheese, I haven't looked yet but my guess is that the specs will vary considerably with types of cheese also, eg hard, soft, processed)

Rgds / Charles.C

Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#13 Take a run

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 07:59 PM

Apologies,

I was referring to the attachment from your post dated 06th November. Mucrobiological history of Cheese pathogens
Thanks



#14 Charles.C

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 09:25 PM

Apologies,

I was referring to the attachment from your post dated 06th November. Mucrobiological history of Cheese pathogens
Thanks

Dear TAR,

It came from my archives. You could try some "cheese" googling, there is a lot of info. on dairy products on the net.
eg Attached File  micro quality dairy products.pdf   571.46KB   9 downloads

Rgds / Charles.C

Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#15 Take a run

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 10:18 PM

Thanks Charles






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