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? :)
too right !
Since I am myself a converted Chemist, i think you have been microbiologically thrown into the deep end.
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".