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#1 always_uphill

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 12:14 AM

I've been reading for a long time and I thank you all for your generosity in contributing your knowledge. You have taught me a lot, and I need it! Now I must ask a question. 

 

Recently received microanalysis for a syrup that we hot fill in glass. Aerobic total plate count = 450 cfu. yeast and mold are <10. I want to know whether to be alarmed and whether to retest? For this product pH is 3, cook temp is 180, bottled >165.

 

The lab (accredited) has of late misfiled a report of ours, kept environmental air samples for yeast & mold 1 day too long before analysis so I can't compare to other data with confidence. A bit concerning so I wonder if I should retest, send a retention to another lab?

 

And what is acceptable or alarming for TPC?

 

Thanks for any advice.



#2 Charles.C

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 01:14 AM

I've been reading for a long time and I thank you all for your generosity in contributing your knowledge. You have taught me a lot, and I need it! Now I must ask a question. 

 

Recently received microanalysis for a syrup that we hot fill in glass. Aerobic total plate count = 450 cfu. yeast and mold are <10. I want to know whether to be alarmed and whether to retest? For this product pH is 3, cook temp is 180, bottled >165.

 

The lab (accredited) has of late misfiled a report of ours, kept environmental air samples for yeast & mold 1 day too long before analysis so I can't compare to other data with confidence. A bit concerning so I wonder if I should retest, send a retention to another lab?

 

And what is acceptable or alarming for TPC?

 

Thanks for any advice.

 

Dear always uphill,

 

I presume the cfu number is per gram.

 

Well, if the product is supposed to be sterile (?), the APC looks alarming.

 

Perhaps you require to create a Product Specification before commercialisation.

 

Rgds / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#3 always_uphill

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 01:52 AM

Thank you Charles for your reply. Yes, cfu is per gram. No, the product is not required to be sterile. For the end consumer who will add alcohol for their favorite cocktail, it must be safe--of course.

 

I am concerned that if I request retest or send retention to another lab, it will be viewed as "shopping" for a better result. But of late I am not happy with our contracted lab. Losing a report, not analyzing samples on time, etc. I will likely be switching to another regardless.

 

 

 



#4 QAMgr79

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 03:51 PM

I would not consider it "shopping" for a better result- but simply verification. I have dealt with labs in the past that have sent me reports with out-of-the-norm results. I made sure to contact the lab manager and have him verify the report data with the raw data (re-count the plate that the lab tech plated). Every time it was due to the tech entering the data incorrectly or some trivial issue. I eventually switched to another accredited lab. I think it looks like you are being pro-active on this issue, rather than trying to shop for results IMO. Good luck with everything!



#5 Snookie

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 05:34 PM

Based on your cook and fill temperatures and acidic pH, I think your plate count rather high.  You could have your current lab retest, however if they are already demonstrating some concerns still the results may be questionable.  I think it very reasonable to have another  certified lab test your retain sample. 

 

While the results may be high, that does not mean it is unsafe and may only impact things such as your shelf life.  What is maximum acceptable level? 


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#6 Charles.C

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 02:35 PM

Dear always uphill,

 

I apologise that I'm not familiar with yr process (syrupX).

 

I assume the cook process is intended to change raw syrup to cooked syrup ? :smile: ).

 

IMEX the cook step is calculated based on 2 factors - (a) achieve the desired product presentation, ie RTE, (b) reduce any pathogens related to food safety to an acceptable level.

 

The values of non-safety micro. parameters like APC can vary enormously with the product type,  eg APC can be < 1000 - 1M/gram and still be within product specification, eg safe to consume.  However positive detection of pathogens like Salmonella is not tolerable.

 

Accordingly, the APC level etc of the pre-cooked material is of some relevance.  And possible pathogens, (ie see [b] above) (maybe Nil in this product matrix?). And cooking time / product core temp.

 

This is why most processors start with a Product Specification and then evaluate the result  accordingly.  It seems you have by-passed this logic. ?

 

Rgds / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#7 Tony-C

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 05:51 AM

Hi there,

 

Assuming that your APC is higher than normal and your product is ambient stable then you should be investigating things like raw material loading, possible packaging contamination, thermometer calibrations/pH meter calibrations, batch records, process records, rechecking product pH and retesting the product.

 

It would be interesting to know when the product is tested and if it is all in the same timescale (it may be that your numbers are typical but reduce with time). Also what protocol you apply to the product before testing? are you incubating the product at say 30 C/86 F for a few days prior to testing ?

 

For pasteurized products I would normally see something like an Enterobacteriaceae test as well as they are a good hygiene indicator although with that pH you may never find any.

 

Regards,

 

Tony






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