I wan wondering if anyone could give a bit of guidance on using ATP swabs to validate our cleaning regime.
The factory is low risk, producing microbiologically stable products (largely oil based). Every batch is sent for a micro screen before distribution and they are normally all well within spec. The factory is BRC Grade A.
Currently, we take swabs from zones 1, 2 and 3 in production areas every 6 months, to validate the cleaning procedures (ie check that the cleaning SOPs in the factory are sufficient to keep any bugs under control.)
Swabs are done for TVC, enteros, e coli, yeasts and moulds, and Salmonella
limits are :
Max 1000 cfu/sq cm TVC
Max 10 cfu/sq cm enteros and e coli
Max 100 cfu/sq cm Y&M
Absence of Salmonella
I was looking at ATP because it would be cheaper and faster (currently a swab costs about £10 and takes 5 days for results) - on the last environmental sampling operation, there were quite a few areas that were well out of spec (mostly on TVC and/or yeasts) - which indicates that the cleaning SOPs need updating, (assuming the SOPs are being followed) it seems that getting an ATP kit would allow us to take many more samples, get a better baseline, so that we can identify what effect any new cleaning procedures have / identify any parts of equipment that are being missed.
I was wondering if by replacing the micro swabs with ATP swabs would I be straying into verification of the cleaning rather than validating the procedure... would an auditor be OK with using ATP for enviromental sampling?
Also, I've read that ATP correlates with bacterial presence, because it identifies cells... but if I've understood correctly a high ATP could mean high bacterial load, but a low ATP reading absolutely means low bacterial load...?
Thanks for your help