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#1 Slab

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Posted 08 March 2014 - 10:10 PM

Hi guys;

 

I have a question about determining what a reasonable shelf life would be for our brine system.  This has to be the number one question during audits (never been gigged so far). My current answer is six months or if maintenance is required on the system.  Of course I would like to extend this as it requires $1,200+ in salt (including sanitation labor) to get the system running again.

 

System details;

 

  • Salinity runs on average 85%. As low as 70% with a maintenance recovery up to 95%
  • Temperature on average 10 deg F (never above 25 deg F), and can circulate at -1 to -3 deg F when not in use
  • Closed system
  • Soaks crustacean sections only after 6d kill step.
  • Processes an average of 25,000 lbs. daily
  • Food grade sea salt (vendor COC and COA available)

I would like to add active water test results to this but cannot find any definitive answer on Aw levels as a micro inhibitor.  Pretty sure the Aw is well below 0.80 but will of course need the test to confirm.

 

If anyone here has this experience I would greatly value their advice.

 

Thanks


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#2 Charles.C

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 09:14 AM

Hi guys;

 

I have a question about determining what a reasonable shelf life would be for our brine system.  This has to be the number one question during audits (never been gigged so far). My current answer is six months or if maintenance is required on the system.  Of course I would like to extend this as it requires $1,200+ in salt (including sanitation labor) to get the system running again.

 

System details;

 

  • Salinity runs on average 85%. As low as 70% with a maintenance recovery up to 95%
  • Temperature on average 10 deg F (never above 25 deg F), and can circulate at -1 to -3 deg F when not in use
  • Closed system
  • Soaks crustacean sections only after 6d kill step.
  • Processes an average of 25,000 lbs. daily
  • Food grade sea salt (vendor COC and COA available)

I would like to add active water test results to this but cannot find any definitive answer on Aw levels as a micro inhibitor.  Pretty sure the Aw is well below 0.80 but will of course need the test to confirm.

 

If anyone here has this experience I would greatly value their advice.

 

Thanks

Dear Slab,

 

Maybe it’s me but I couldn’t understand the OP. :smile:

 

i have processed seafood but nothing like the above system.

 

Might hv been useful to describe yr process, eg inputs, outputs, stages.

 

I presume brining is a freezing process ?

 

Do you actually mean the shelf life of  the brine system (as stated in OP) or the finished product ( whatever presentation that is ?)

 

Have never heard of a 6day killing step (cooking?). Sounds horrendous.(added - OK, just got it, 6d = 6D  :doh:  )

 

Sorry (twice) for confusion.

 

Rgds / Charles.C

 

PS – “gigged” defeated me and google :smile:

 

(A) A light, two-wheeled carriage drawn by one horse. 2. Nautical. a. A long light ship's boat, usually reserved for use by the ship's captain. b. A fast light rowboat. 3

 

(B) Ozarks residents of the past often waded the clear local streams at night and gigged suckers while using light from hand-held lanterns. Modern sucker gigging ...

 

© When you have done more than your fair share of work or play, on any given occasion.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#3 Slab

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Posted 09 March 2014 - 08:36 PM

PS – “gigged” defeated me and google  :smile:

 

(A) A light, two-wheeled carriage drawn by one horse. 2. Nautical. a. A long light ship's boat, usually reserved for use by the ship's captain. b. A fast light rowboat. 3

 

(B) Ozarks residents of the past often waded the clear local streams at night and gigged suckers while using light from hand-held lanterns. Modern sucker gigging ...

 

 

 

Hi, Charles;

 

I see some of my army vernacular still perseveres.    :biggrin:

 

"Gig" "gigged" means loss of merit with physical, written, or verbal reprimand.  "The platoon was gigged for a jelly donut found in my foot locker during inspection"

 

True story.

 

Sorry about the word selection.  I've always referred to it as a "gig"

 

 

Dear Slab,

 

Maybe it’s me but I couldn’t understand the OP.  :smile:

 

i have processed seafood but nothing like the above system.

 

Might hv been useful to describe yr process, eg inputs, outputs, stages.

 

I presume brining is a freezing process ?

 

Do you actually mean the shelf life of  the brine system (as stated in OP) or the finished product ( whatever presentation that is ?)

 

Have never heard of a 6day killing step (cooking?). Sounds horrendous.(added - OK, just got it, 6d = 6D   :doh:  )

 

 

Indeed it is 6D.  Target pathogen is LM.

The brine dip is not a freezing process but either a processing aid for cooling, or per customer request for a 1.5% avg meat salinity. Soak time is usually less than 2 minutes, and a batch is roughly 300 lbs.  We can process up to 90 batches a day (parameters of solution I outlined in the OP). This is all part of the chilling process after cooking and then released for RTE (high risk) production, or in the the case of in-shell orders sent to the nitrogen tunnel for freezing).


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#4 Charles.C

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 04:53 AM

Dear Slab,

 

Re-gig, must admit that I didn’t search for military slang, eg No.7 in

http://www.merriam-w.../dictionary/gig

 

Re-yr process.

Not recently crab familiar but I guess "shelf-life" is referring to change of brine so as to prevent product cross-contamination. This is a frequent type of problem in various dipping/soaking/treatment processes. Not too sure whether yr (closed?) system is "full" batch, mixed continuous /batch or ? Offhand, 6months seems a very long time. I presume you currently have some justification for this ?

 

IMEX the procedures are often somewhat rule-of-thumb dependent for example on the assessed risk / style of processing / style of controlling dip solution / product volumes involved / effort / cost. For example some lucky people find that the rate of absorption of dip solution is so fast that continual replenishment (ie effective batch replacement) is unavoidable except that occasional breaks must be inserted for total cleaning of the system. The related effort is obviously a factor in many, single product, scenarios. The frequency is also dictated by micro. status input / temperatures involved / micro.status output / criteria for concern, eg specific pathogen(s). This requires knowledge and experience of the specific product/process as usual in HACCP.

 

I presume such above information is available to you already. I am aware that L.mono is often the primary  "sanitary" focus in USA for RTE. In this salty medium, S.aureus / V. parahaemolyticus are 2 other potential growth issues although should be very low after cook plus controlled at the temps you mention. However, of these 3, AFAIK,  LM is the only RTE- zero-tolerant (in USA).

 

From a brief IT scan the texts below consider brine related problems, for example I noticed –

  BRINE

-  Fresh  and  chilled  brine  should  be  prepared  at  each  break  or  every  2 hours  of  operation.

e.      FRESH  WATER  RINSE

-  Brine  should  be  rinsed  off  in  fresh  potable  water  spray of  brining.

 

Pg75, bri3

Ye et al., (2001) reported that an electrochemical system provided an effective continuous in line treatment to control L. monocytogenes in the brine tank.   An average D-value of 1.61 min was achieved at 7mA/cm 3  current with fresh brine (t = 0 h).  In used brine (t = 20 h), the D-value was 2.5

min at 35mA/ cm 3

 

Pg 48, bri1

Attached File  bri 1- Crab Inshell, L.mono control, 2006.pdf   349.77KB   21 downloads

Attached File  bri2 - haccp fish Processing,2011.pdf   407.83KB   24 downloads

Attached File  bri3 - haccp seafood,crab etc .1977, Lee.pdf   160.01KB   15 downloads

 

Hope I interpreted yr query correctly. Any readers here with direct process involvement may give a more relevant reply.

 

.

 

Rgds / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#5 Slab

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Posted 10 March 2014 - 06:48 PM

Thank you for the help, Charles. I actually have the SSWG draft and reference that frequently. It's my go to bedtime story.  :smile:

 

My justification for this is the assumption that;

 

  • Product after cooking is antiseptic (CCP 1)
  • Process is part of continuous cooling stage (CCP 2)
  • Salt input is food grade
  • Water input is potable in a closed system
  • Salinity averages 85% (sea water IIRC is 3.5% for comparison)
  • Solution is stored below freezing
  • Product that is dipped is tested by lot for micro (forgot to mention this)

 

Would adding Aw test to this help validate the justification from an auditor's perspective?  Can Aw effectively be determined on a solution?


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#6 Charles.C

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 06:34 AM

Dear Slab,

 

It’s all a question of  science, targets, numbers and the sampling statistics thereof.

 

It’s difficult to speculate  without detailed knowledge of the product / process / existing control validations. For example, in addition to my previous post,  it is possible that  C.botulinum may also be a species(s) of interest.

 

As far as general control of bacterial microbial growth is concerned, this classic series of FDA papers is very good IMO (eg for Aw see Ch3/sec.2).

 

http://www.fda.gov/F...s/ucm094141.htm

 

Plus the selected papers promoted on above website, eg the smoked fish document yields  -

 

Salting of fish before smoking is done either by brine-injection, bath brining, or dry salting. As L. monocytogenes is a halotolerant bacterium, salting is not likely to reduce the number of microorganisms. On the contrary, several studies have isolated the organism from brine (Eklund and others 1995), needles used for brine injection (Fonnesbech Vogel 2000; personal communication; unreferenced), and in fish flesh that had been injected with contaminated brine (Eklund and others 1995). Autio and others (1999) found that the brining step caused a major increase in contamination of L. monocytogenes during cold-smoked trout processing. Salt levels (salt in water phase) in the final product range from 3% to in a few cases as high as 12%, although salt levels typically range from 3.5% - 5% (Truelstrup Hansen and others 1998; Jørgensen and others 2000;). This level of salt (3.5% - 5%) has no inhibitory effect on the bacterium (Peterson and others 1993). At levels above 6% NaCl and with a low initial inoculum, growth is prevented at 5 °C (Peterson and others 1993); however, this level of salt is generally too high for consumer preferences. The level of salt may also affect the growth of an accompanying lactic acid bacterial flora, and high levels (>5.5%) can significantly delay growth of the lactics, thereby reducing their potential inhibitory effect against L. monocytogenes (Nilsson 2001; personal communication; unreferenced).

 

 

For seafood processing / FS  the best general / technically accessible E.Brittanica that I know is the FDA, Fish/Fishery Hazards Control Guidance (FHCG) (2011) which has been numerously posted here. For the present case the Introduction, Chapters 12,13,16 seem of immediate interest. There is also a useful graph of Aw vs salt% included within.

 

Rgds / Charles.C

 

PS –  I noticed this somewhat cryptic comment while browsing -  

“It is now recommended that brine be treated to minimize microbial contamination or be periodically replaced as a good manufacturing practice control.”

Pg14  FHCG


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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#7 Slab

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 07:16 PM

Charles, you have been very helpful in finding a divergent subject for me to investigate as I have found some very interesting numbers on "brine". It looks that the system was originally set up for freezing;  

http://www.imsinc.co...brine-freezing/

 

I was thinking of process input of materials without critical limits, but now I'm thinking more or less a possible cold storage CCP with time/temp/salinity matrix proofed with Aw and the solution being the material cold stored ("possible" is operative)

 

 

Table 3-2 in section 3 of the FDA report was extremely helpful.  :thumbup: 

I'll see what I can find with various lab results.  


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