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Ecoli present in fresh juice

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#1 myieo

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Posted 01 November 2016 - 09:20 AM

Hello,

 

I had some test results back from the lab and 3/5 of the different flavours of fresh, unpasteurised juices had ecoli present (not O157).

 

I wash fruit and veg using chlorine tablets according the instructions on the pack. I keep washed and unwashed foods separate. Tables and equipment are cleaning using detergents as required by EU standards. 

 

I am struggling to think how I can improve.

 

Do you think I should be changing the water with the chlorine tablet in it after I wash every different type of fruit. I have not been doing this as sometimes I am making a small amount of juice and the chlorine tablet requires 20 litres of water. Like today for example, I am making 10 x 250ml bottles of juice using 9 different ingredients. When I am producing larger amounts then it is more feasible that I can change the water after each ingredient. And for medium quantities perhaps I can change the water after I wash leaves, fruits from trees and root vegetables? I can of course, use a different method cleaning which makes it easier to use smaller quantities of water, like using a liquid rather than a tablet. 

 

The ecoli levels were:

30 cfu / g

30 cfu / g

300 cfu / g

 

Should I be seeing these results as evidence that my processes are not sufficient? How drastic should my response be (ie. stop manufacturing)?

 

Any ideas how I can improve and reduce risks to customers? 

 

Thank you so much.

 

 



#2 Charles.C

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Posted 01 November 2016 - 01:09 PM

Hello,
 
I had some test results back from the lab and 3/5 of the different flavours of fresh, unpasteurised juices had ecoli present (not O157).
 
I wash fruit and veg using chlorine tablets according the instructions on the pack. I keep washed and unwashed foods separate. Tables and equipment are cleaning using detergents as required by EU standards. 
 
I am struggling to think how I can improve.
 
Do you think I should be changing the water with the chlorine tablet in it after I wash every different type of fruit. I have not been doing this as sometimes I am making a small amount of juice and the chlorine tablet requires 20 litres of water. Like today for example, I am making 10 x 250ml bottles of juice using 9 different ingredients. When I am producing larger amounts then it is more feasible that I can change the water after each ingredient. And for medium quantities perhaps I can change the water after I wash leaves, fruits from trees and root vegetables? I can of course, use a different method cleaning which makes it easier to use smaller quantities of water, like using a liquid rather than a tablet. 
 
The ecoli levels were:
30 cfu / g
30 cfu / g
300 cfu / g
 
Should I be seeing these results as evidence that my processes are not sufficient? How drastic should my response be (ie. stop manufacturing)?
 
Any ideas how I can improve and reduce risks to customers? 
 
Thank you so much.


Hi myieo,

A little more info. may assist.

What is yr product specification ?

Regardless E.coli looks high/very high.

What is the level of E.coli in the raw material ?

what is the washing process ?

What are the samples for which you quote E.coli numbers ?

how is the E.coli measured by the lab, ie what is the procedure ?

What levels of free Cl2 are achieved in the wash water ?


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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#3 Scampi

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Posted 01 November 2016 - 01:23 PM

When was the last time your fresh water supply was tested?  It's probably worth adding to a regular schedule onsite


Because we always have is never an appropriate response!


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#4 myieo

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Posted 02 November 2016 - 02:10 PM

Hello,

 

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



#5 Scampi

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Posted 02 November 2016 - 02:26 PM

I would send the water to an accredited outside lab.  Our facility is on well water and we do total coliform and generic ecoli once/month

 

Are the veg being peeled prior to chlorine wash or is the whole veg being juiced ?  The exterior ecoli that are still present will contaminate all of the food contact items post wash.....

 

Have you swabbed your sink/drain?


Because we always have is never an appropriate response!


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#6 Charles.C

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Posted 02 November 2016 - 04:05 PM

Hello,

 

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

 

Hi myieo,

 

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).

 

Attached File  eco1 - Guidelines interpretation micro.results in RTE foods,GN3,rev2,2016.pdf   291.82KB   16 downloads

Attached File  eco2 - Micro Surveillance.pdf   389.71KB   14 downloads

 

I am unclear what Guideline value HPA actually implement in practice (if any). You may know more than me. :smile:

 

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.

http://www.ifsqn.com...getable-juices/

 

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.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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#7 myieo

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Posted 04 November 2016 - 10:44 AM

Scampi- Thanks I will send a water sample for coliform and ecoli and will make sure I am peeling prior to washing.

 

Charles- Thanks for looking into it! 

I will send some unwashed raw veg with some washed and juiced veg of the same batch to the lab to verify the washing procedure. Can I check this is what you are suggesting?

 

I will look into different veg washes too. Important to note that cl2 levels decrease and pH levels should be monitored. I did not realise. 

 

Thanks again, good that I can make some improvements and do some additional tests



#8 Charles.C

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Posted 05 November 2016 - 02:51 AM

Scampi- Thanks I will send a water sample for coliform and ecoli and will make sure I am peeling prior to washing.

 

Charles- Thanks for looking into it! 

I will send some unwashed raw veg with some washed and juiced veg of the same batch to the lab to verify the washing procedure. Can I check this is what you are suggesting?

Yes, i also strongly suggest you send at least 2 random samples (also randomly labelled) of each item, ie total >=4. You need some idea of the variability. if all the results are  closely similar, would make me slightly uneasy regarding the lab. The ideal procedure is to include a "ringer" whose value you reasonably accurately know but not so easy in this case.

 

I will look into (1) different veg washes too. Important to note that cl2 levels decrease and (2) pH levels should be monitored. I did not realise. 

 

(1) these randomly selected (others exist) posts/threads/attachments may be of interest -

http://www.ifsqn.com/forum/index.php/topic/23112-can-anyone-describe-sanitization-procedure-of-fruits-vegetables/?p=75643#entry75643

http://www.ifsqn.com/forum/index.php/topic/23142-substitution-for-chlorine-tablet-in-fruit-and-veg-sanitisation/

http://www.ifsqn.com/forum/index.php/topic/23502-high-care-area-for-fresh-produce/#entry78189

 

(2) The discussion in this old thread (2006) is interesting but sadly most of the links are long gone (I try and upload files these days :smile:). I think there are other threads here which also discuss pH effects and it's probably well documented on the Net. Direct relevance may depend on yr specific process / kind of tablet you are using.

 

Thanks again, good that I can make some improvements and do some additional tests

 

Hi myieo,

 

^^^ Hopefully of some interest if you have enough spare time !


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C






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