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Micro Testing of Raw Materials (Bacon)


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#1 DonnaC

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 01:33 PM

Hey everyone 

 

We deal with bacon, we buy it in raw, cook it and sell it as a ready to eat product. Should I be sampling raw bacon for micro testing and how often? There is a it of a debate going on (General Manager thinks there is no point as we are going to be cooking it so we are 'going to kill whatever's on it, the last QA never did') where as I think we should for extra precautions as we are serving a RTE food.

 

Thanks in advance :) 



#2 Charles.C

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 01:45 PM

Should I be sampling raw bacon for micro testing and how often? 

 

One key question is - Is there a specification(s) ? And if so, what does it say regarding contamination, etc?

(I would have guessed that the industry has some standards ?)

 

Rgds / Charles.C

 

PS - Might be interesting to know the basis of yr GM's confidence as to the microbiological quality ? Perhaps this is a high temp. operation (?)  but  how much post, cross-contamination / delay  is floating round ?


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#3 Mike Green

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 02:09 PM

BMPA  UK standard is here  ( their 'tech spec' for Raw bacon is on page 10 & cooked on page 16)

 

Since the product is RTE would it not be best applying the bulk of the 'micro testing budget' on the finished product? ( except for maybe S.aureus !! )

 

Regards

 

Mike


Edited by Mike Green, 22 October 2014 - 02:29 PM.

I may sound like a complete idiot...but actually there are a couple of bits missing

#4 Snookie

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 04:32 PM

Interesting reference.  Very informative. 


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#5 PetBone

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 04:53 PM

Just my opinion but it seems as it would be an un-needed expense. My thoughts would be that through a Letter of Guarantee or even better a COA from the raw supplier would be beneficial and cost effective on your end.



#6 Snookie

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 04:54 PM

Just my opinion but it seems as it would be an un-needed expense. My thoughts would be that through a Letter of Guarantee or even better a COA from the raw supplier would be beneficial and cost effective on your end.

 

You still need to at least verify. 


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#7 PetBone

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 04:59 PM

You still need to at least verify. 

Verify what exactly?

 

Are you doing micros on finished goods? If so, that serves as verification that you have produced wholesome product.

 

My background is in USDA RTE facilities, we never tested incoming ingredients and only had LOG on hand from all vendors.



#8 Snookie

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 06:02 PM

Verify what exactly?

 

Are you doing micros on finished goods? If so, that serves as verification that you have produced wholesome product.

 

My background is in USDA RTE facilities, we never tested incoming ingredients and only had LOG on hand from all vendors.

 

You need to occasionally verify the COC.  If you are getting a COC that says no pathogens and micro counts of......these should occasionally be verified.  I also worked in USDA RTE facilities and we would routinely and randomly verify incoming raw ingredients.  When we started this program we did have several ingredients that failed.  Once vendors realized we tested....we seldom had another issue.  While the ingredients matter, for example this is useless for produce...this is meat, specifically pork. 

 

LOG's are necessary, they don't have the same weight they used to.  Verify and validate are critical in today's food safety climate. 


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#9 Charles.C

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 05:46 AM

You need to occasionally verify the COC.  If you are getting a COC that says no pathogens and micro counts of......these should occasionally be verified.  I also worked in USDA RTE facilities and we would routinely and randomly verify incoming raw ingredients.  When we started this program we did have several ingredients that failed.  Once vendors realized we tested....we seldom had another issue.  While the ingredients matter, for example this is useless for produce...this is meat, specifically pork. 

 

LOG's are necessary, they don't have the same weight they used to.  Verify and validate are critical in today's food safety climate. 

 

Yes  :spoton: Seeing is believing.

 

I personally believe that, despite the current avalanche of Prerequisites, receiving raw material should always be a CCP. Even canning texts note that a routine sterilization process may not cope with overwhelmingly contaminated inputs. 

 

Theoretically of course, perfect HACCP implies minimal end-product testing. Try explaining that to customers.

 

Specifications IMO should be at the top of any Production/Quality Plan, beginning and end. I would have guessed that hamburger lovers might share this thought as far as E.coli O157 is concerned.

 

One wonders where the bacon is going next ? BLT ?

 

Rgds / Charles.C

 

PS - with respect to the OP, what thermal profile for the core temperature is actually involved, eg temp/time ?


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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#10 DonnaC

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 08:19 AM

Thanks everyone still trying to find my feet in this line of work so any info is greatly appreciated.

 

Raw material testing procedures are in our micro procedure file but not on the schedule (consultants set this up before i started a few months ago) 

 

Charles the core temp is between 81°C-84°C and cooled to under 4°C in 90mins and if it doesnt reach that then the product is held until it reaches under 4°C (to my knowledge they had cooling to under 4°C in under 4hours but the EHO was very unhappy about that and made them change it to 90mins) , we dont sell to the general public or any super markets, we sell to other companies and then it will go on pizza's, sandwiches, salads, baked potatoes etc. 

 

I wanted to carry out the testing randomly not every week as we had found a pen in the raw material a couple of weeks ago. I don't receive a cert of conformity tho from our suppliers :s should I request one from now on? we always send out a COC with our own products. 

 

Donna :)



#11 Charles.C

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 02:40 PM

Dear Donna,

 

Do yr COCs meet the micro.data which Mike (thanks !)  posted ? Target cooked bacon TVC looks fairly demanding IMO, especially at 30degC. Unless you're working at Arctic temperatures.

 

@Mike - I noticed that max.TVC for cooked is apparently > than max. for raw. Illogical or acceptance of reality ?. Regardless, UK bacon people  seem to have little interest in significant pathogens other than non-gloved hands maybe.

 

How long held 81-84degC, 1sec,1min, 5min ? Hopefully sometime validated?. Occasionally checked at output ?

 

Seems a curious process but my experience not in the meat business. I presume something is done to the cooked output before freezing, packing maybe. Many people use direct feed into a conveyor freezer so almost no delay, then pack after. Minimizes risk of contamination/growth. But perhaps it's not IQF.

 

Asking yr supplier for COCs should reveal something, regardless of whether Yes or No. :smile:

 

But I wouldn't defer checking yourself as well. A little knowledge may be dangerous but is still often better than zero.

 

Rgds / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#12 Mike Green

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 03:12 PM

 

@Mike - I noticed that max.TVC for cooked is apparently > than max. for raw. Illogical or acceptance of reality ?

Charles- I didn't see that! 

 

I recall.... I think (!) (for unnaceptable levels) something like...

(raw)  > 5x 106   cfu/g

(cooked) >1000 cfu/g

 

(but I must admit I didn't read the whole thing!)- I'll have to have another read later!

 

Mike


I may sound like a complete idiot...but actually there are a couple of bits missing

#13 Charles.C

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 03:46 PM

Charles- I didn't see that! 

 

I recall.... I think (!) (for unnaceptable levels) something like...

(raw)  > 5x 106   cfu/g

(cooked) >1000 cfu/g

 

(but I must admit I didn't read the whole thing!)- I'll have to have another read later!

 

Mike

Dear Mike,

 

raw, max 1M or perhaps 5M depending on pages

 

(1M is clearly incoming pork, 5M is probably finished raw bacon but not 100% sure of latter, raw reality perhaps)

 

cooked, max 5M1000 cfu/g

 

maybe it is reality

 

Rgds / Charles.C

 

Errata

 

Apologies - my error - didn't get to the 3rd table, 2nd table is undefined to my eye!

 

Yr memory probably good and my faith in British bacon restored,  but -

 

max.Staph.aureus = 500cfu/g, ie 50% of TVC,  bit nervous again if refers to any number of samples

 

@Caz -just saw yr input, thks


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#14 cazyncymru

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 04:02 PM

Mike is right

 

Raw bacon has a target TVC of 1x105  cfu/g and a maximum TVC of 5 x106 cfu/g

 

Cooked bacon has a target TVC of 100 cfu/g and a maximum of 1000cfu/g

 

I think that I would like to at least spot check the micro loading of my raw ingredient, just in case I end up contaminating everything else with a little nasty somewhere!

 

Caz x



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#15 Mike Green

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 07:11 PM

Mike is right

 

Wow- uncharted territory for me (lol)........had to happen eventually I suppose!     :happydance:    

 

Mike


I may sound like a complete idiot...but actually there are a couple of bits missing

#16 Charles.C

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 07:26 AM

Hey everyone 

 

We deal with bacon, we buy it in raw, cook it and sell it as a ready to eat product. Should I be sampling raw bacon for micro testing and how often? There is a it of a debate going on (General Manager thinks there is no point as we are going to be cooking it so we are 'going to kill whatever's on it, the last QA never did') where as I think we should for extra precautions as we are serving a RTE food.

 

Thanks in advance :) 

 

Dear Donna,

 

Returning to the OP, the consensus is probably Yes and "it depends".

 

Personally I would initially (assuming you have zero data) sample several successive lots (how often do they arrive?,quantities/presentation?), maybe at least 3, in at least 2 different locations per lot.

 

Then compare the results for, minimally, TVC, E.coli generic, E.coli O157,L.mono,Salmonella, S.aureus

Then re-assess.

 

hopefully the TVCs will all be << 1M, etc, etc

 

Rgds / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C





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