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ATP Testing on Printing Press and Laminators?

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#1 Plastic Ducky

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Posted 08 April 2015 - 08:32 PM

Hello all,

 

We make flexible plastic packaging for food items at my facility (think potato chips and pretzel bags). The facility is level 3 SQF. I myself am new to the facility as an assistant SQF practitioner / QC Technician. Every shift (24 hour facility - 2 shifts) we clean and sanitize rollers on all machines that make direct contact with the film (using a disposable sanitizing wet wipe). We do a visual inspection during Pre-op SSOP daily inspection, and the QA manager does a weekly ATP testing on various rollers as well. My question is, is ATP testing the right testing for this atmosphere? Is a weekly frequency sufficient?

All opinions appreciated ......

 

 

Plastic Ducky.....



#2 Simon

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 03:03 PM

Just a counter question PD...with your current weekly ATP testing what are you finding and how long have you been doing it?


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#3 Plastic Ducky

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 06:19 PM

Thank you for responding Simon,

 

We have been testing these rollers that come in contact with the film via ATP testing for over four years. All testing is done weekly on these rollers and all testing is always within acceptable ranges with one general exception.

Every time we run a substantial amount of Linear Low Density Polyethylene (LLDP) films we will at times get a result outside of acceptability. This only occurs because LLPDs are treated with a component known as "slip". The film's natural characteristics make it very clingy and unable to manage in the environment where the films are shaped and filled as bags. Traditional "slip" is a waxy additive composed of several things including unsaturated fatty acid amides. So it is this that is triggering the above acceptable ATP results. However, my argument is that this same "slip" component migrates on the product that will eventually be encased in the bag the film is shaped into and I don't believe the "slip" is a hospitable environment for bacterial growth.

 

Is there a better test we could be doing to prove that the environment in general including the film contact rollers (a dry environment, no water, no floor drains, climate controlled) are not an environment that would nurture or sustain bacteriological growth.

 

I have been unable to find a case of food borne illness related to cross contamination via plastic film packaging.  If any of you know of one please send me a link.....

 

 

Thank you,

 

Alex Duckworth



#4 Simon

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 09:08 AM

Hi Alex, can you remind me what your products are...direct food contact? From what you are saying in four years of weekly testing you have found nothing.  Based on this you can certainly consider reducing the frequency of testing?

 

In my experience of food packaging manufacture there is never any findings swabbing rollers and very little anywhere else.  That said it depends what you swab for and what you swab.  If you swab toilet door handles, packing tables, operators hands you will find counts.  Is there any manual handling of your products?

 

As well as testing the rollers have you tested the Linear Low Density Polyethylene (LLDP) films directly? What specifically are you finding on this material...pathogens?

 

Regards,

 

Simon


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#5 Charles.C

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 09:36 AM

Hi Plastic ducky,

 

Micro is one aspect. Chemical is another.

 

I have no idea what "slip" is but i presume it is a commercial chemical product.

 

I assume this is documented as food product/process acceptable. ?

 

With respect to ATP,  the "false positive ?" interaction you mention needs to be validated. If so, but also depending on "chemical", you may have a relevant criticism. But SQF audits apparently had no problem with the data ?


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C






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