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SPC limits for Environmental Swabs in Vegetable Processing

SPC limits

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#1 Smita M

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 02:25 AM

Hi All,


I work in a Vegetable Processing Factory. The SPC counts appear to be above 100cfu/swab on some equipment but the coliform and Listeria counts are all within limits. Even our products test results are excellent. As I do not have good knowledge on Food Microbiology, I was hoping to understand if there is a cause for concern?

Is the possible to increase the limit to 1000 as the limit may be too low taking into consideration the products processed have a high natural flora?

#2 Charles.C


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Posted 09 April 2015 - 03:39 AM

Hello SmitaM !


Thanks for yr query and Welcome to the Forum !


A direct answer to yr query requires knowledge of the surface area used for the swab, preferably in cm2.


I suggest you have a look at the intro. and compilation of micro.limits for surfaces here -




I hope that yr Listeria counts are "undetectable". :smile:

Kind Regards,



#3 Quality Ben

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 08:08 AM

Hi - we have 100CFU / cm2 as our limit for our TPC swabs also.

But remember these swabs are only as an indicator.......if we get one that is above 100cfu/cm2 then we monitor it and review the cleaning for that area or point.

If it trends, then we start to monitor it and review and upgrade the cleaning and look for root cause.

If you are getting really high results on certain points you need to understand why....and then minimise or remove that risk.

I wouldn't be overly concerned if a swab came up over 100cfu/cm2 (within reason.....you don't want them pushing 1000cfu/cm2)

A good way is to set green, amber and red zones. We have green up to 30cfu/cm2 and then amber up to 90cfu/cm2.

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