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Micro specification establishment

Micro testing specifications

Best Answer xylough, 12 March 2015 - 07:59 PM

Hi,

I'm not certain from your question if you are referring to testing methods or to acceptable test results. Various compendiums e.g., the one you reference or the one for the examination of dairy foods are considered authoritative on the methods of how to properly conduct the particular tests e.g, coliforms in raw milk. The actual specifications e.g. >10 colony forming units per ml. on coliforms is a different subject altogether.

 

The Pasteurized Milk Ordinance e.g.; sets forth some micro specifications on milk in the US. Understand that they are minimal specifications; just meeting the mirco specifications may make the milk "legal", but if you only aim for this very low bar you will have milk of a low microbiological quality. Dairy industry standards for micro specs far exceed any codified statute mandating a certain micro spec. In order for milk to make decent cheese or to have a long shelf-life the specs must be more stringent than any government regulation requires.

 

In another illustration of micro specs: once I used to test various milk and whey powder blends that were ingredients in a global company's candy. This global company had extremely stringent specifications that they developed for themselves through spending vast amounts of money on research and through years of experience. You will not easily find their micro specifications because they are proprietary "property" for which they spent millions of dollars and they don't want their competition to have an easy time with the fruit of their labors.

 

In this last illustration: I managed a gourmet meat processor's FSQA. When I arrived they had no specification sheets for finished product. I was in a situation like you. I ended up turning to our trade association representative for micro

specification gudlines.

 

Here are the points I'm trying to make:

 

  • government specifications if and when they exist tend to be minimal and will not yield a quality product
  • the most stringent and successful specifications are often developed by big companies with big resources
  • good specifications are difficult to find because they are kept hidden on purpose
  • good specifications are often driven by the demands and high expectations of customers
  • sometimes you can find good specification guidelines from trade organizations for you specific food industry

Here is a pdf of micro specs from the International Commission for Microbiologically Safe Food. It has a section on cereals, fats and oils.

 

 

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#1 ganderson64

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Posted 12 March 2015 - 01:15 PM

How are micro testing specifications established for food manufacturing? I have pulled some numbers from The Compendium of Methods for the Microbiological Examination for Foods.

Our product is much like a snack food and used as an ingredient in other's formulations. Primarily vegetable oil and wheat dried to moisture less than 2%.

Is there a set of standard numbers used in the chip / cookie food space and where are they pulled from?



#2 xylough

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Posted 12 March 2015 - 07:59 PM   Best Answer

Hi,

I'm not certain from your question if you are referring to testing methods or to acceptable test results. Various compendiums e.g., the one you reference or the one for the examination of dairy foods are considered authoritative on the methods of how to properly conduct the particular tests e.g, coliforms in raw milk. The actual specifications e.g. >10 colony forming units per ml. on coliforms is a different subject altogether.

 

The Pasteurized Milk Ordinance e.g.; sets forth some micro specifications on milk in the US. Understand that they are minimal specifications; just meeting the mirco specifications may make the milk "legal", but if you only aim for this very low bar you will have milk of a low microbiological quality. Dairy industry standards for micro specs far exceed any codified statute mandating a certain micro spec. In order for milk to make decent cheese or to have a long shelf-life the specs must be more stringent than any government regulation requires.

 

In another illustration of micro specs: once I used to test various milk and whey powder blends that were ingredients in a global company's candy. This global company had extremely stringent specifications that they developed for themselves through spending vast amounts of money on research and through years of experience. You will not easily find their micro specifications because they are proprietary "property" for which they spent millions of dollars and they don't want their competition to have an easy time with the fruit of their labors.

 

In this last illustration: I managed a gourmet meat processor's FSQA. When I arrived they had no specification sheets for finished product. I was in a situation like you. I ended up turning to our trade association representative for micro

specification gudlines.

 

Here are the points I'm trying to make:

 

  • government specifications if and when they exist tend to be minimal and will not yield a quality product
  • the most stringent and successful specifications are often developed by big companies with big resources
  • good specifications are difficult to find because they are kept hidden on purpose
  • good specifications are often driven by the demands and high expectations of customers
  • sometimes you can find good specification guidelines from trade organizations for you specific food industry

Here is a pdf of micro specs from the International Commission for Microbiologically Safe Food. It has a section on cereals, fats and oils.

 

 

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#3 Charles.C

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Posted 12 March 2015 - 11:31 PM

How are micro testing specifications established for food manufacturing? I have pulled some numbers from The Compendium of Methods for the Microbiological Examination for Foods.

Our product is much like a snack food and used as an ingredient in other's formulations. Primarily vegetable oil and wheat dried to moisture less than 2%.

Is there a set of standard numbers used in the chip / cookie food space and where are they pulled from?

 

Dear ganderson,

 

The previous post offers some good  insights.

IMEX, xylough's first 2/final attach. suggestions are very popular although No.1 is often hard to find and No.2 requires "customers" (+ their specs are occasionally a product of optimism rather than reality, eg requests such as "free of pathogens".) The final attach. is famous, getting a bit old now, but still a very useful guideline collection.

Another indispensable one is ICMSF volume 6 (or maybe 5?) which does not give specs per se but has detailed explanations/refs of significant pathogens to control for an enormous range of foods.

The UK downloadable Public Health (PHLS) RTE micro. specs are justly famous / up-dated and have been re-used in many countries, eg Hong Kong, Australia.

The EC compilation of micro.specifications for mainly retail foods/process hygiene is also significant.

Google often finds more esoteric requirements which have been issued in diverse places.

Suppliers of ingredients are often good for their own specialities.

And so forth.

There are 2-3 previous threads here with closely similar queries to this one which probably contain further examples/links. Maybe seach a little, eg "micro. specification".

 

Unfortunately, afaik, there is no convenient central index for this topic unless you wish to pay. :smile:

 

Rgds / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C






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