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#1 rebecca1981

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 09:36 PM

Hello forum, 

 

First, I am brand new to the food safety world in general, and am trying to learn as much as possible. This has been a very valuable resource so far - You all know so much!

 

I work for a small frozen dessert manufacturer. We recently had a full certificate of analysis completed for a no-bake product that falls into the category of frozen dairy dessert. 

 

TWO MAIN QUESTIONS:

 

#1 --> Everything looks good and within acceptable limits, but I am not sure about the limits for this type of product re: Aerobic Plate Count. The results were 600 CFU/g. The lab noted that this is an "estimated result." This seems high to me, but I haven't been able to find anything stating what acceptable limits for this type of product should be. 

 

Can anyone provide me with some insight here? I have read that APC may be useful for trend analysis, but is not applicable to live fermented products. Is this true, and if so, why? Shouldn't we still be able to glean some information from an APC count? Or do we just not include this test in our full COAs moving forward?

 

#2 --> Where do we start with determining what tests we should be doing for our finished products, and what acceptable limits are for each (we make many different types of desserts, including pies, cheesecakes, cakes, and these no-bake frozen dairy desserts)? Are there guidelines somewhere that I just haven't been able to put my finger on?

 

Thank you kindly for any help you're able to provide, 

 

Rebecca

 

 



#2 Charles.C

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 10:05 PM

Hi rebecca,

 

Most companies have something called a Product Specification for their output. This typically includes microbiological limits and should answer yr question as to acceptability..

 

Maybe you have not yet been included in the "need-to-know" category ? :smile:

 

If the products are RTE, i daresay that local regulatory limits may be involved.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#3 Charles.C

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 10:46 PM

addendum

 

I'm not familiar with US data but here are details reflecting the UK viewpoint for RTE products including some of the types you mention, eg see pg 34 -

 

Attached File  Guidelines_for_assessing_the_microbiological_safety_of_ready-to-eat_foods_on_the_market-1.pdf   998.98KB   194 downloads

 

I also enclose the previous version (2000) of above which IMO is far easier to read and, i think, includes some items not listed in current one. However the earlier version's data will be superceded if variant to top one (i predict it's mostly the same) -

 

Attached File  Micro-Limits-Ready-to-Eat-Foods.pdf   119.29KB   203 downloads


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#4 rebecca1981

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Posted 25 June 2015 - 04:21 PM

Thank you, Charles. I should have mentioned in my initial post that this is a new item, and I have been tasked with establishing limits for the spec sheet -- something I've never done before. Everyone has to start somewhere, right? :)



#5 Charles.C

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Posted 25 June 2015 - 08:45 PM

Thank you, Charles. I should have mentioned in my initial post that this is a new item, and I have been tasked with establishing limits for the spec sheet -- something I've never done before. Everyone has to start somewhere, right? :)

 

Hi Rebecca,

 

too right !

 

Since I am myself a converted Chemist,  i think you have been microbiologically thrown into the deep end. :smile:

 

If you have limited familiarity with micro. it's going to be a learning curve.
 

 

Can anyone provide me with some insight here? I have read that APC may be useful for trend analysis, but is not applicable to live fermented products. Is this true, and if so, why? Shouldn't we still be able to glean some information from an APC count? Or do we just not include this test in our full COAs moving forward?

 

 

i guess you noticed the relevant APC comments in my attachments.

 

From memory the live products are mandated to have minimum  "live" counts in the 10^6 - ^7 levels so it becomes impossible to deduce anything about hygienic contamination, etc.

 

Where do we start with determining what tests we should be doing for our finished products, and what acceptable limits are for each (we make many different types of desserts, including pies, cheesecakes, cakes, and these no-bake frozen dairy desserts)? Are there guidelines somewhere that I just haven't been able to put my finger on?

 

 

My first thought wud be to compare any similar company product data already listed  which probably reflects a lot of knowledge/experience  and hopefully includes validatory refs. Plus a net scan for related product matrices if such exist so as to cross-check yr internal materials. There are a few helpful micro. texts accessible on the net if you have no internal "library". These have been previously summarised on this forum (maybe located already ?). There is also an incredible range of text books on Quality issues for Dairy Products, some of which may hopefully exist in yr Company. A few are specifically focussed on micro.aspects.

 

Regulatory zero-tolerance pathogens are obviously an easy limit. Probably concludes for salmonella, pathogenic E.coli, L.mono.

I predict that for many others like Staph, (non-pathogenic) E.coli, you will find many existing product items will have similar limits. Whether these are connected to US legislation I wouldn't  know.

The scope of micro. species to cover is also probably evident from yr other Company dairy product specs.
 

 

#1 --> Everything looks good and within acceptable limits, but I am not sure about the limits for this type of product re: Aerobic Plate Count. The results were 600 CFU/g. The lab noted that this is an "estimated result." This seems high to me, but I haven't been able to find anything stating what acceptable limits for this type of product should be.

 

 

"an estimated result" may mean that the number of visible colonies on the plate were insufficient for accurate calculation or other interferences.  Any meaningful comment on the 600 would depend on the actual product/process. For the various dairy items in my attachments,  600cfu/gram would obviously be "Low"  but it "all depends". :smile:


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C





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