i been troweling about 20 pages of this site for micro related shelf life topics and always even through google i find RTE only.
In in the process of bedding a new NPD guy in and i need to source a micro guy next but in the mean time i have a problem.
EHO came in (UK government guy) and said we need to validate shelf life. he then said all that's needed is to test product at manufacture and again at its USB to verify its ok. Now i understand this and i understand that its actually more involved than this in terms of a standard shelf life process.
Currently we store each batch of product produced each day and and organolepticly assess it at the end of its SL and for 6 days later. SL being 10 days.
Problem is the micro... im not a microbiologist and our lab service doesn't like making opinions on what we should do, so im stuck.
We have a spec for when product is 1st made and an opinion is that its over kill the spec for end of life is a whole other question... based on the spec of at manufacture what should be a trigger point for end of usb?
the product Fresh pastry has flour water, colour and pasteurized egg in it. the PH is on average neutral leaning towards acidic(still testing samples.) The aW is 0.91 - 0.97
Currently testing for indicators such as ACC, Coli forms and the testing for Molds, yeasts, E.coli, salmonella, Listeria, bacillus cereus.
my understanding is that molds and yeast being present at manufacture would not be a concern how ever there is the issue of toxins...
it all comes down to are these test sufficient at manufacture? what would the limits be for triggering action.. and once those are set how do you determine if you test at the last day of use if there's a food safety concern?
of a whim i sent a sample out day of manufacture came back clear. at usb there were coliforms at +5000 cf/g and ACC +10000 cfu/g but nothing else all main tests were negative. one sample just had ACC.
My gut says we need to investigate what the issue is IE indicated but in terms of shelf life is it safe!! is the product out the door safe?.....
(gawd need a micro guy bad!)
My thinking is that my base test should be something like indicators + the main obvious programs, + endotoxins, mycotoxins, aflatoxin etc because of mould growth and the spores / toxins they can produce.
define limits at manufacture (guidelines? RTC?) then calculate what is acceptable not acceptable at end of life / repeat test using same product from start.
Any help on this appreciated.......