There are several products on the market designed to allow in-house testing of listeria and salmonella for environmental monitoring. We used the products from Hardy Diagnostics for a while but went back to sending sponges to an outside lab. We are a smaller food processor (low moisture, low Aw foods) and have a small in house lab for routine physical and some chemical testing, but no microbiology lab. We are also SQF Level 2 Certified.
I went back to outside lab testing (we collect the samples and send sponges to lab for testing) because even though the test kits have AOAC approval we do not have laboratory certification. I became concerned that our environmental testing program might be considered suspect if we were basing our results on the use of these kits and did not have certification. or worse, that we might actually not be getting good results. i would be interested in comments regarding the use of these kits types of kits, potential concerns from SQF auditors, potential concerns with FDA as FSMA moves forward (even though it does not currently require environmental monitoring), etc. The cost savings is significant, but compromising the monitoring program is not worth the savings.