Jump to content

  • Quick Navigation
Photo
- - - - -

How to explain shelf life and microbial growth to a Sales Manager?


  • You cannot start a new topic
  • Please log in to reply
5 replies to this topic

#1 trubertq

trubertq

    Grade - PIFSQN

  • IFSQN Principal
  • 658 posts
  • 275 thanks
136
Excellent

  • Ireland
    Ireland
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Donegal

Posted 17 April 2013 - 09:42 AM

Hi all,

Has anyone got a resource that would help me explain microbial growth to a Sales manager who does not want to understand that a shelf life is a shelf life and can't be extended unless you alter the process.

We are dealing with a fresh cooked shellfish product. He is comparing it a slabs of meat :dunno:.


HELP!!!!!!


I'm entitled to my opinion, even a stopped clock is right twice a day

#2 Mendeljev

Mendeljev

    Grade - MIFSQN

  • IFSQN Member
  • 53 posts
  • 25 thanks
4
Neutral

  • Belgium
    Belgium
  • Gender:Male

Posted 18 April 2013 - 06:17 AM

What is so difficult for him for not understanding the shelflife of a product ?

I have a simple and effective sollution :

Let him eat/smell product that has passed shelflife :whistle:

was looking for a video tutorial explaining shelf life, and i stumbled on this:




It was too much fun to let this one pass :smile:,

Anyway, I would personally demonstrate it by showing him the product at the different phases : fresh / x time after production / at expiry date / past expiry date
/ long past expiry date ....and ask him what he still wants to consume

Hitting him with graphs / theoretical studies will not help if he 's already comparing fish to meat :king:


Edited by Mendeljev, 18 April 2013 - 06:31 AM.

Quality is not an act, it is a habit.(Aristoteles 384 BC-322 BC)

Thanked by 2 Members:

#3 Bill Cusack

Bill Cusack

    Grade - Active

  • IFSQN Active
  • 6 posts
  • 3 thanks
2
Neutral

  • Canada
    Canada

Posted 19 April 2013 - 08:42 PM

That's a tough one. I've been up against that myself in the past. I may come back to this tonight over a beer to see what I can find.

In the meantime there are a couple of things that come to mind. First is the possible impact of bad fish, food illness and recall on sales. Rolling the dice can be career limiting. Fresh cooked shellfish if it's ready to eat, has food safety considerations built in. The safety of the product is based on the barriers you put up in your process and it's time and temperature on the shelf. And once the product leaves your location your control on temperature is gone with the fish. So you're left with time and hopeful good practices of others. If you routinely exceed shelf life sales might improve on the item - but the countering risk of food borne illness and recall can be catastrophic. It doesn't hurt to have an expert look at the original data, but don't let anyone cherry pick the best scenario or best results and assume that the product will last for ever or is safe. Safety margins like guardrails are there for a reason.

Graphically something that MIGHT help is doing a Google image search of 'bacterial growth curve'. The timelines might be different, but it gets the point across that once bacterial growth takes hold it can be logarithmic leading to very bad things. The unfortunate thing about precooked product is that you can kill off all the neutral bacteria and just have left or re-introduce the disease causing and/or spoilage kind.

Hope this helps. Like I said, will see if I can find a good video online this evening. Also you might try Googling McCain Foods Recall. This was here in Canada a couple years ago. It's a case study of how things can go wrong fast in RTE foods, but also how owning up to your responsibilities can save a company.


Hi all,

Has anyone got a resource that would help me explain microbial growth to a Sales manager who does not want to understand that a shelf life is a shelf life and can't be extended unless you alter the process.

We are dealing with a fresh cooked shellfish product. He is comparing it a slabs of meat :dunno:.


HELP!!!!!!



#4 john123

john123

    Grade - MIFSQN

  • IFSQN Member
  • 103 posts
  • 31 thanks
6
Neutral

  • United States
    United States
  • Gender:Male

Posted 19 April 2013 - 09:15 PM

Slabs of meat have shelf lives too.


Maybe a statement like, "If we violate our own shelf lives, someone is going to f***ing die. I don't want our company to be responsible." Apologies being vulgar. Statements like this were made to me regarding sanitation when I first started, it was the eye opener I needed to understand how critical our jobs really are.



#5 Bill Cusack

Bill Cusack

    Grade - Active

  • IFSQN Active
  • 6 posts
  • 3 thanks
2
Neutral

  • Canada
    Canada

Posted 21 April 2013 - 03:28 PM

A chart in the following FAO seafood paper is not too bad.... http://www.fao.org/d...0e/v7180e07.htm .

Figure 6.6 shows bacterial growth and quality degradation over time. While this is for plaice not shellfish the principles are the same - Except that pre-cooked shellfish has built in health risk that fresh plaice does not. Remember that each increase in 1 on the top chart means bacteria count goes up by 10x (5 = 100,000; 6 = 1million; 7 = 10 million bacteria per gram).



#6 trubertq

trubertq

    Grade - PIFSQN

  • IFSQN Principal
  • 658 posts
  • 275 thanks
136
Excellent

  • Ireland
    Ireland
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Donegal

Posted 21 April 2013 - 03:37 PM

Thanks Guys,

The nub of the problem is that the customer would like a longer shelf life, but we are limited by our distance from the market, so to my mind it is what it is.

I got a bacterial growth curve and a spiel about the different phases of microbial growth, as he had trouble understanding why it maintained a level until day x and then started to increase by huge amounts.

I tried to explain as best I could about the differences between shellfish and meat, different moisture content, pH, intrinsic make up etc...


He hasn't replied so I don't know whether he has read it or if I have wasted a whole morning of my life on him......

Honestly, sometimes I think that the people think Quality departments just spend their time coming up with ways to scupper their plans. ( only SOME of the time :thumbup:)

Thanks for the document Bill, I will keep that for round 2!!


Edited by trubertq, 21 April 2013 - 03:52 PM.

I'm entitled to my opinion, even a stopped clock is right twice a day




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users