Thanks for the replies.
Charles, I have not had the pre-juiced fruit and veg tested. Should I be doing this?
The washing process is: wash off any visible dirt, soak in the chlorine solution for 15 mins, rinse with water and then juice. I have used the HPA guidelines for ready to eat foods to inform my product specification which says <20.
The samples for the juices I gave you ecoli result are all fresh juices:
- apple cucumber beetroot
- cucumber, apple, spinach, kale, lemon,ginger
- cucumber, spinach, kale, lemon,ginger
The common ingredient being cucumber.
The testing process in the lab, I am not sure. I can look into this.
The level of chlorine is 50ppm.
Scampi - I have not tested the water, is there a way to do this in-house or best that I send to the lab?
Again, thank you so much for your time
I have done a little searching over yr products and the (UK) situation may be more complicated than i thought.
There is possibly a "disagreement" over the appropriate E.coli micro. standard for this category between UK and EC (afaik no BREXIT yet !).
I assume you have been using the UK/HPA (2010) guidelines of <20 (satisfactory), 20-100 (borderline), >100cfu/g (unsatisfactory) for E.coli although i cud not see any direct mention of unpasteurized juices therein.
However the EC legal requirements are more "tolerant" towards E.coli , eg >1000cfu/g = Unsatisfactory, and <100 is "effectively" Satisfactory (more precisely a sampling plan exists where [nmMc] = [5,100,1000, 2]).
This discrepancy is noted/discussed in the 2 Irish references below ex 2007/2016 respectively (the Irish preferred E.coli Guideline limits are apparently even stricter than UK).
eco1 - Guidelines interpretation micro.results in RTE foods,GN3,rev2,2016.pdf 291.82KB
eco2 - Micro Surveillance.pdf 389.71KB
I am unclear what Guideline value HPA actually implement in practice (if any). You may know more than me.
Nonetheless, although yr data looks EC-compliant, do note that >99% of samples in the Irish survey had E.coli <20 cfu/gram (but note that plate count methods as used in ISO 16649-1,2 may be questionably accurate at low levels of E.coli. [as also is a sample size of "1"]).
E.coli counts of 20 and 30cfu/g are not IMO particularly distinguishable and cud also derive from procedural differences. I have no experience with fruit/vegetables but 50ppm/15min does not sound particularly aggressive if there is a high level of E.coli in the raw material (it may also relate to penetration).
Hence my suggestion to compare the levels in the raw material + make sure the procedure is a standardised one (IMEX it is not unusual for variations in micro. procedure between parties to give substantial variations in some micro. results).
JFI, you might find this older related thread of interest. Americans are more nervous about fresh apple juice than the Brits. With historical reason presumably.
PS - i slightly wonder how consistent the actual washing time is and if you monitor the Cl2 level over time. It can drop quite fast in the presence of organic material. Chlorine tablets (?) also only work optimally if the pH is maintained in an appropriate range.