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How to Decrease Microbiological Count in Raw Pistachio?


Best Answer , 03 September 2015 - 10:08 PM

Hi MDG,

 

I’m a little unclear as to whether you personally are (1)  supplying/“arranging” a consignment of pistachios to an ice cream manufacturer (2) are the ice-cream processor yourself, (3) are buying/brokering the ice-cream finished product ?

 

If (1) the micro issue is usually controlled via an agreed (micro) specification between buyer/seller, in respect to both processing method and final  micro. numbers. In practice, afaik, the primary reason for pre-treatment of such raw materials by, for example, heat is usually twofold ie (a) to eliminate zero-tolerance pathogens like salmonella which are frequently associated with such items, especially where the intended use is as a direct ingredient of a RTE product and (b) to lower the values of total plate count and coliform which are interpreted as having hygienic significance.

The previous post covers many of the possible options in this case.

 

If (2/3) the specification aspect IMEX is usually between processor and  retail customer and particularly with respect to the safety of the RTE finished product. IMEX the spec. usually includes both processing and micro. details. Not my product area but offhand I would anticipate that ingredients like nuts in ice-cream would have strict control requirements, ie pre-treatment probably mandatory. Numerically the usual route is for R&D to make trial samples for testing/agreement purposes by processor/buyer.

 

As I mentioned, the micro. limits you  initially quoted are afaik for ice-cream, not pistachios. If the coliform values you mentioned earlier refer to already heat - treated pistachios, then there may be a problem with either (1), (2) or (3).

 

Perhaps you could clarify the situation.


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MDG

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Posted 29 August 2015 - 05:23 PM

Hello,

 

Pl. guide us for the method to decrease the  microbiological count in raw pistachio.



clbernard

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Posted 30 August 2015 - 09:34 PM

The naturally occurring microbiological count of pistachios is related to many factors that are beyond the control of the processor, following gap will reduce this count a bit and other harvest related actions will reduce this further;including actions taken during the initial cleaning/processing steps such as removal of hull and drying.  Further technology is available to perform lethality steps downstream of processing which would result in a product that may be called raw but in fact is no longer raw, such as almonds in the US.

 

Could you be more specific in your request, are you looking at farm related or harvest related actions to be taken?



Charles.C

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Posted 31 August 2015 - 11:49 AM

Hello,

 

Pl. guide us for the method to decrease the  microbiological count in raw pistachio.

Hi MDG,

 

As an addition to previous post, do you have a target level for the micro.count in cfu/gram ? And an idea of the level in yr present raw material ?


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


MDG

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Posted 31 August 2015 - 04:03 PM

Hello,

 

Pistachio will be used as a inclusion in the ice cream product. The requirement is of nil coliform and pathogen bacteria.



clbernard

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Posted 31 August 2015 - 05:11 PM

The zero coliform count will be difficult to meet, are you sure the target is 0 cfu for coliform; as that is unrealistic in my experience even with  a lethality step included in the process.

 

What is microbial background of your current received product as mentioned by Charles?



MDG

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Posted 02 September 2015 - 03:27 PM

We receive the material with coliform count in the range of 150 to 300 CFU. In the ice cream max. count is allowed is 50 CFU and As per USDA, it is 10 CFU for the plain ice cream e.g. Vanilla and 20 CFU for inclusion ice cream,

 

Thank in advance.



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Posted 02 September 2015 - 07:01 PM

We receive the material with coliform count in the range of 150 to 300 CFU. In the ice cream max. count is allowed is 50 CFU and As per USDA, it is 10 CFU for the plain ice cream e.g. Vanilla and 20 CFU for inclusion ice cream,

 

Thank in advance.

 

Hi MDG,

 

Thks for the reply,

 

I'm guessing this CFR spec is similar to yr quotation although not, afaik, specifically USDA -

 

58.648 Microbiological requirements for ice cream.

The finished product shall contain not more than 50,000 bacteria per gram as determined by the standard plate count, and shall contain not more than 10 coliform organisms per gram for plain and not more than 20 coliform per gram in chocolate, fruit, nut or other flavors in three out of five samples.

 

 
Note above max.count is 50,000 cfu/gram and this data is for the finished product, not pistachio itself. How much % pistachio in the ice-cream ?
 
What microbiocidal treatment (if any) is applied to pistachio raw material prior to yr reception ?
 
I'm not directly familiar with pistachio but the 150-300 cfu/g coliform range you mention seems not unreasonable for such a raw material if "untreated". If so, and yr target is to achieve <= 10 cfu/g for the pistachio itself then some further processing is surely required as noted by clbernard, eg heat.

Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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MDG

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Posted 03 September 2015 - 10:00 AM

It will be 10 % pistachio in the form of cut pieces  and paste 



clbernard

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Posted 03 September 2015 - 03:07 PM

Sorry for the delay in response, as I had a bit of a crisis at work, but Charles is correct in that untreated pistachios will be within the range of what you are receiving.  It sounds to me that you are receiving according to reasonable specifications but shipping to much tighter specifications.  

 

What are the levels outbound?  Are there any issues within the process that are raising those numbers even higher?  

 

Are the loads being rejected after shipment and a retesting at the receiving facility or based on your data?  If the are rejected after you obtain an acceptable COA and a retest is coming back higher, have you investigated the method of sampling and testing performed by the receiving facility?

 

You will either have to:

1. see if you can renegotiate the specification based on the known micro levels of your received product; which are common for the pistachio industry; with an eye on the % input to the ice cream because a small % of pistachio inputs at a higher than acceptable micro count should be diluted by the volume,

2. apply a microbiocidal treatment in house

3. only purchase pistachios that have been treated prior to shipment.

 

I would vote for number 3. as topical applications of chemicals (even PPO)change the taste and texture of the nut and the equipment needed to apply heat and dry steam, or heating with radio waves are costly.



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Posted 03 September 2015 - 10:08 PM   Best Answer

Hi MDG,

 

I’m a little unclear as to whether you personally are (1)  supplying/“arranging” a consignment of pistachios to an ice cream manufacturer (2) are the ice-cream processor yourself, (3) are buying/brokering the ice-cream finished product ?

 

If (1) the micro issue is usually controlled via an agreed (micro) specification between buyer/seller, in respect to both processing method and final  micro. numbers. In practice, afaik, the primary reason for pre-treatment of such raw materials by, for example, heat is usually twofold ie (a) to eliminate zero-tolerance pathogens like salmonella which are frequently associated with such items, especially where the intended use is as a direct ingredient of a RTE product and (b) to lower the values of total plate count and coliform which are interpreted as having hygienic significance.

The previous post covers many of the possible options in this case.

 

If (2/3) the specification aspect IMEX is usually between processor and  retail customer and particularly with respect to the safety of the RTE finished product. IMEX the spec. usually includes both processing and micro. details. Not my product area but offhand I would anticipate that ingredients like nuts in ice-cream would have strict control requirements, ie pre-treatment probably mandatory. Numerically the usual route is for R&D to make trial samples for testing/agreement purposes by processor/buyer.

 

As I mentioned, the micro. limits you  initially quoted are afaik for ice-cream, not pistachios. If the coliform values you mentioned earlier refer to already heat - treated pistachios, then there may be a problem with either (1), (2) or (3).

 

Perhaps you could clarify the situation.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


MDG

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Posted 13 September 2015 - 04:02 PM

Thank you.






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