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Sanitation and Allergen Verification Swabbing - Bakery Industry

SQF Sanitation Swabbing ATP Cleanliness

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#1 Cory R.

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Posted 27 May 2015 - 09:27 PM

Hi All,

 

I'm relatively new to this site but have been in the food manufacturing industry (QA) for eight years, and recently obtained B.S. in Food Science. I hope I can contribute as well as gain valuable insight in our industry from seasoned professionals

 

I recently started work for a small bakery which deals with multiple allergens. We are currently modifying our system to meet SQF code and attempting LV 2 certification. I have a question regarding what is typical for allergen and sanitation verification in regards to swabbing (ATP, cleanliness spot checking- hygiena, and allergen elisa tests).

 

The company's current design of swabbing is a random cleanliness check and random allergen check once per week on food contact surfaces (5 points total per check)

 

I want to transition this program into part of our pre-op equipment check, effectively making it a better verification of sanitation cleanliness (meeting  SQF 11.2.13.1.vi, 11.2.13.4, and 2.8.2.1.vii)This would be an large increase in operational cost vs. what they have been doing and I want to see what other bakeries meeting SQF lv 2 have implemented. Is the random verification enough for SQF?

 

I am thinking about doing the verification swabbing heavily for 6 months to verify our SSOPs are effective and then possibly extending check to 2-3 times per week. What are your thoughts? Also, what is the industries standard for bakeries that SQF auditors would most likely recommend or cite as the best practice in regard to sanitation swabbing.

 

Any help/opinions are greatly appreciated,

Cory



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#2 maara91

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Posted 29 May 2015 - 06:45 PM

I do not work in the bakery industry; however,  In my company we swab the lines with Neogen swabs once a month after pre-op. We swab all the lines in 5 sites in the raw area and 5 sites in the RTE area for each of the possible allergens on the line. This is to verify that our cleaning methods are effective in removing all allergens. The only other times we test equipment is when there is a change over to a product with different allergens. Mostly allergens are controlled by scheduling products w/ no allergens or Preserved identity first and the products containing allergens.



#3 mgourley

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Posted 29 May 2015 - 11:43 PM

Maybe more specifics about your process/allergens would be helpful.

If you are doing products with unlike allergens back to back, you have to clean and verify lack of unlike allergens each and every time you do change overs.

Random checks will not suffice. Can you be more specific about your ops?

 

Marshall



#4 Cory R.

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Posted 02 June 2015 - 08:39 PM

The company makes a fruit and nut type cake - so pretty much every possible allergen is present in our entire product line, with a majority of the products sharing the major allergens: egg, milk, walnuts, almonds, wheat, & pine nut 

 

We have a fairly robust allergen management program in place with dedicated cleaning procedure (format changes, color code cleaning, scaling, and storage equipment all with well defined SSOP's), and complete segregation of raw materials by allergen use in finished products. The problem I saw when first coming into the organization is that they did only random tested and at no point did they setup a baseline effectiveness test for the sanitation. I am just worried with them pushing for SQF, and not having the verification data to support some of the processes. If possible, I want to get it right without having to do multiple non-conformity corrections after audit.

 

All allergen products are scheduled (when possible) to be with other like allergen product and if not possible, we document the change-over cleaning. All rework is monitored based on allergen and tracked. 

 

Based of Marshall's comment about random checks and my own uncertainty with the verification process, I plan on implement/designing a structured swabbing regimen to gather data and verify our process and then roll the swabbing into the pre-op at key points in our mixing and pre-primary packaging process.

 

Thanks for the feedback and I am open to hear how other companies manage their cleaning/allergen swabbing



#5 mgourley

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Posted 02 June 2015 - 10:14 PM

Sounds like you have the basics covered. I suppose a baseline would be helpful, but as long as you are cleaning and verifying no presence of unlike allergens between changeovers, you should be good. 

 

Marshall







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