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When to Replace Polyethylene Cutting Boards?


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#1 SFM

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 02:58 PM

Hello Everyone,

This is probably and age-old issue, rearing its head again, but I would like to know if anyone knows of a source that addresses the replacement of polyethylene cutting boards when they are “worn” or “no longer cleanable.”

I am looking for something descriptive, definitive and scientific, if possible. I know this is a tall order.

I have been getting push back from clients about replacing what I consider to be badly gouged/scored/worn cutting boards (especially the polyethylene ones, wood is often more obvious).

I have searched hundreds of websites and sources, including some of the regulatory sites and have contact some of the primary suppliers. Unfortunately, the majority of information, although very informative about cleaning these surfaces, are not very specific about when to replace them, or if they can be resurfaced. The information I have found says very general things like, when it becomes heavily gouged, scored, worn, damaged, is no longer cleanable, etc. I would like to put together an SOP for what the industry should be looking for when deciding when to “retire” these cutting boards.

I am also hoping someone can point me to a source regarding the viability of resurfacing these polyethylene cutting boards.

In addition, does anyone know if the same principles that apply to the polyethylene cutting boards applies to Corian cutting boards?

Finally, I am trying to determine if an ATP swab, used on site after cleaning and sanitizing the boards, would be a way to determine if the boards are still cleanable, without needing lab testing.

Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Regards,

Pamela Ross-Kung, RS, MS
Safe Food Mangement


#2 Charles.C

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 05:06 PM

This is probably and age-old issue, rearing its head again, but I would like to know if anyone knows of a source that addresses the replacement of polyethylene cutting boards when they are “worn” or “no longer cleanable.”

I am looking for something descriptive, definitive and scientific, if possible. I know this is a tall order.

I have been getting push back from clients about replacing what I consider to be badly gouged/scored/worn cutting boards (especially the polyethylene ones, wood is often more obvious).

I have searched hundreds of websites and sources, including some of the regulatory sites and have contact some of the primary suppliers. Unfortunately, the majority of information, although very informative about cleaning these surfaces, are not very specific about when to replace them, or if they can be resurfaced. The information I have found says very general things like, when it becomes heavily gouged, scored, worn, damaged, is no longer cleanable, etc. I would like to put together an SOP for what the industry should be looking for when deciding when to “retire” these cutting boards.

I am also hoping someone can point me to a source regarding the viability of resurfacing these polyethylene cutting boards.

In addition,
does anyone know if the same principles that apply to the polyethylene cutting boards applies to Corian cutting boards?

Finally,
I am trying to determine if an ATP swab, used on site after cleaning and sanitizing the boards, would be a way to determine if the boards are still cleanable, without needing lab testing.

Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Regards,

Pamela Ross-Kung, RS, MS
Safe Food Mangement


Dear SFM,

You are certainly correct in that the subject of cutting boards has received a fair amount of microbiological attention. One common problem is getting standardised conditions to allow evaluation of data.

Results for chopping boards have been variously attempted to be correlated with respect to factors like material of composition, visually damaged condition and degree of drying.

I have attached 4 quite detailed studies which were primarily interested in studying the cleaning / sanitising of surfaces and comparing related data, eg aerobic counts, E.coli and ATP measurements

The raw data often covers a wide range which I guess is unsurprising and might interfere with the statistics in some of the smaller samples although all were reasonably large – very large.

Attached File  pp5 - Ireland 2006, food_prep_surfaces.pdf   283.77KB   26 downloads
Attached File  pp4 - cleaning standards in food premises 2000 - lacots_cleaning_standards_004013.doc   515KB   30 downloads
Attached File  pp0 - australian swab micro limits - cleanliness_survey.pdf   407.32KB   29 downloads
Attached File  pp2 - swab, ATP - food contact surfaces, verification cleaning efficiency, uk 2006, some guidelines.pdf   465.97KB   28 downloads

Some extracts of conclusions from above are –

-------------------------------------------
The type of food preparation surface (i.e. chopping board or worktop) had a significant effect (p<0.0001) on the ACC results. Counts >= 10^ 3 cfu/cm2 were recorded for 20.7% (n=259/1032) of swabs from chopping boards compared with 9.6% (n=98/1258) of swabs from worktops.
• The material (e.g. stainless steel, plastic, glass etc) of the food preparation surfaces (i.e. chopping board or worktop) did not have a significant effect on the ACC results.
• The i) specific use (i.e. RTE food only/RTE and raw food), ii) surface condition (smooth/rough), iii) surface appearance (clean/dirty) and iv) presence of moisture (wet/dry) had a significant effect on the ACC count of chopping boards. These parameters did not have a significant effect on the ACC counts of worktops.
(ref.pp5)

-----------------------------------------------------
• Approximately half (46%) of the boards sampled were scored. Significantly fewer boards with a good surface condition had an ACC level of 103 cfu/cm2 or more (16%) compared with other surface conditions (24% - 48%) (P<0.00001) (Table 2).

Surfaces that were visually dirty, wet, last cleaned over 24 hours ago, and/or scored or damaged making cleaning very difficult, were shown to have higher levels of bacteria.
(ref.pp4)

---------------------------------------

Attached File  good-poor condition cutting boards (pp0), ATP data.png   36.03KB   16 downloads
(ref.pp0)
--------------------------------------------

Neither aerobic colony counts nor ATP results were significantly related to the visual appearance of the boards sampled [for boards in good vs poor condition; aerobic counts (P =0.36) and ATP (P = 0.45)] and for clean vs dirty boards; aerobic counts (P =0.12) and ATP (P= 0.27).
(ref.pp2)

---------------------------------------

The last reference appears out of step with the others, at least according to the statistics. Reason unknown. :smile:

I don't think the above data decisively answers yr question in a quantitative way but it does (mostly) seem to support a microbiological basis for replacing damaged boards. I doubt that they are so expensive unless large numbers are involved ?

Rgds / Charles.C

PS - all the chopping boards in above refs seem to be polypropylene.

Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#3 Oldairyman

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 10:41 PM

Validation of cleaning is the best thing you can do. Petri-film for SPC (standard plate count ) will not give you instant results but it will let you know if your cleaning methods or food surface is sanitary. You can sand and debir the poly board to improve the cleanabilty of the surface . ATP is a poor method for validating surfaces as they are affected by sanitizers, and substrate, protein, sugar, fat , oil residual that would be considered "soiled" and give you false low number. Hope this helps.

Hello Everyone,

This is probably and age-old issue, rearing its head again, but I would like to know if anyone knows of a source that addresses the replacement of polyethylene cutting boards when they are “worn” or “no longer cleanable.”

I am looking for something descriptive, definitive and scientific, if possible. I know this is a tall order.

I have been getting push back from clients about replacing what I consider to be badly gouged/scored/worn cutting boards (especially the polyethylene ones, wood is often more obvious).

I have searched hundreds of websites and sources, including some of the regulatory sites and have contact some of the primary suppliers. Unfortunately, the majority of information, although very informative about cleaning these surfaces, are not very specific about when to replace them, or if they can be resurfaced. The information I have found says very general things like, when it becomes heavily gouged, scored, worn, damaged, is no longer cleanable, etc. I would like to put together an SOP for what the industry should be looking for when deciding when to “retire” these cutting boards.

I am also hoping someone can point me to a source regarding the viability of resurfacing these polyethylene cutting boards.

In addition, does anyone know if the same principles that apply to the polyethylene cutting boards applies to Corian cutting boards?

Finally, I am trying to determine if an ATP swab, used on site after cleaning and sanitizing the boards, would be a way to determine if the boards are still cleanable, without needing lab testing.

Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Regards,

Pamela Ross-Kung, RS, MS
Safe Food Mangement



#4 Charles.C

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 01:25 AM

Dear Oldairyman,

ATP is a poor method for validating surfaces as they are affected by sanitizers, and substrate, protein, sugar, fat , oil residual that would be considered "soiled" and give you false low number.


Provocative ?. :smile:

I do believe, as I think illustrated in other threads here, that there are "satisfactory" examples where ATP can be an effective tool for validating surface cleanliness. And vice-versa. Horses for Courses perhaps.

I suppose this is why use of the atp methodology is itself required to be validated. How often this is actually done is another topic. IMEX one could well address similar comments to plate count data also, regardless of pedigree.

Some atp myths (see below) are fairly well-known. The ones you mention perhaps less emphasised. Actual frequency / significance of occurrence ?? :dunno: Some data would be useful.
Attached File  atp myths.pdf   89.53KB   22 downloads

Rgds / Charles.C

Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#5 Oldairyman

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 11:46 PM

Tested in our facility, ATP not to be trusted . Yes they do work in a perfect world . But in the real world . Maybe in a candy or tortilla shop . Follow the money , when ever you need to really know. Most Meat, Egg, Milk, high risk food manufacturing will not rely on ATP.
:rolleyes:

Dear Oldairyman,



Provocative ?. :smile:

I do believe, as I think illustrated in other threads here, that there are "satisfactory" examples where ATP can be an effective tool for validating surface cleanliness. And vice-versa. Horses for Courses perhaps.

I suppose this is why use of the atp methodology is itself required to be validated. How often this is actually done is another topic. IMEX one could well address similar comments to plate count data also, regardless of pedigree.

Some atp myths (see below) are fairly well-known. The ones you mention perhaps less emphasised. Actual frequency / significance of occurrence ?? :dunno: Some data would be useful.
Attached File  atp myths.pdf   89.53KB   22 downloads

Rgds / Charles.C






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