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Listeria mono detected in the processing room


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#1 NicoD

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Posted 02 February 2017 - 03:38 PM

Good morning everyone,

 

I would really appreciate if you could write your opinion about this finding:

 

During our routine environmental swabbing and microbial tests the lab detected Listeria monocytogenes in the swab taken from the floor of the processing room where we also cut raw meat before cooking it. Precisely the floor drain was swabbed.

 

Listeria innocua was also detected in the same swab.

 

What do you think?

 

Because it's the floor, and so, theoretically, it could have come through shoes, and not necessarily with the ingredients, is it normal or does it require anyway extraordinary measures?

 

I was thinking to provide:

 

• proof of further testing (the drains again, the main food contact surfaces of the room, the raw meat stored in the freezer, other areas [the more the better])

 

• proof of actions with the employees, to reinforce the importance of using floor foamers when entering and leaving the processing room

 

• proof of further actions, for example increased frequency of automatic floor foaming

 

• proof of actions with the supplier, in case of positive detection in meat samples

 

• meat sampling based on the actual standard sampling plans, that is at least 5 samples collected.

 

Do you think this is enough?

 

(btw, audit happeining in a few days!!! - we got lucky eh?)

 

Thank you!

 



#2 SJH.007

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Posted 02 February 2017 - 09:10 PM

At what point in your process was the swab taken? During production or after cleaning? And do you further process your product to reduce or eliminate bacteria, such as heat treatment?

Listeria is inherent to raw meat, if you look for it in this type of low care environment you will find it. The fact it's found in your drain will most likely be caused by washing meat particles and blood down it.

If the swab was taken after cleaning it really should have been removed, I would suggest a review of the cleaning method, contact time, etc. I say it's inherent but there should still be controls in place to manage it and limit it's spread through other areas of the factory by vehicles.

I work in a low care meat plant with BRC and the major U.K. retailers and we don't swab for listeria as it is accepted the organism will be in the environment, however we also cook at a 90c for 10min equivalent which eliminates Listeria.




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#3 NicoD

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Posted 02 February 2017 - 09:54 PM

Thank you SJH.

 

It was during production.

 

But, if it came from the meat, in a good shipping and receiving program, shouldn't Listeria mono be a zero tolerance criteria in the acceptance of incoming shipment?

 

Does what you said mean that if any time we receive a frozen meat delivery, we sample it, test it, and find Listeria mono, we can accept the delivery only because the meat gets cooked?

 

 

Thanks



#4 SJH.007

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Posted 02 February 2017 - 10:35 PM

You really need to consider the level of risk Listeria mono poses to your end product. This will define the level of control you require now you have found it in your environment. For example, do you really need such stringent controls if the product is then cooked to a temperature that will eliminate it?

I would not expect incoming raw meat to be free from Listeria on every delivery. If an assessment of risk ascertains it is zero tolerance you need, check the criteria for it on the supplier specification and discuss with them to see what they can do to reduce.

My background before raw meat was high care ready to eat where the presence of Listeria mono in the environment meant immediate shut downs of entire sections in the factory. In an entirely low risk site normally the risk of end product contamination is much lower, but you will need to determine how much control you need. In any case, I think points 1, 2 and 3 from your original post are good practice and would show your auditor you are taking steps to reduce spread. :-)


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#5 Charles.C

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 06:24 AM

Hi Nico,

 

More context is required.

 

Similar to the reasoning of 2nd paragraph of previous post, an earlier (US) thread here suggests/quotes that for a RTE overall facility, it is illogical to investigate drains/LEMP for the raw stages.

 

Canada may have different Regulatory opinions of course but IIRC they are not more strict than USA  regarding LEMP ?


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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#6 NicoD

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 12:26 PM

Hi Charles and RJ, thank you for your answers.

 

It's for private purposes (SQF audit).

 

In the processing room the raw food (including meat) is mainly cut.

 

Then it goes in the ovens, until dry (aw max. 0.60).

 

Then in the controlled environment for bulk storage and packaging.

 

Food for animals (nothing for human consumption).

 

Thanks



#7 Charles.C

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 03:33 PM

Hi Charles and RJ, thank you for your answers.

 

It's for private purposes (SQF audit).

 

In the processing room the raw food (including meat) is mainly cut.

 

Then it goes in the ovens, until dry (aw max. 0.60).

 

Then in the controlled environment for bulk storage and packaging.

 

Food for animals (nothing for human consumption).

 

Thanks

 

Hi Nico,

 

Thks for expansion.

 

I anticipate that, as, i expect, for the humanoid, the appropriate SQF module probably covers the (animal) RTE/raw situation also. (I assume there is an animal feed module).


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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#8 FurFarmandFork

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 06:58 PM

Keep in mind that L. innocua isn't an adulterant either, it's an indicator organism and doesn't in itself pose a risk to product.

 

I would agree with the above that drain swabbing in the "raw" environment doesn't make much sense, and the corrections you suggested in your first post are probably good if not overkill for this particular finding. I would suggest changing your swab location to a Zone 2 location in this room to make sure your equipment isn't harboring anything, rather than stress about the drain (especially if you're swabbing below the grate, and you have no high pressure water used in the room).


Austin Bouck
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Consulting for companies needing effective, lean food safety systems and solutions.

Subscribe to the blog at furfarmandfork.com for food safety research, insights, and analysis.

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#9 NicoD

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 04:44 PM

Thank you Charles and Earth.

 

Well, anyway the cleaning and sanitation contractor dismantled the drains and thoroughly washed and sanitized them, internally too, and I sent swabs last week just to make sure there wasn't any residue/biofilm developing Listeria colonies...

 

Yes there is a dedicated section in the SQF code.

 

Thanks for the advices.



#10 mamad123

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 10:12 PM

I think you have to make sure that received raw materials are not contaminated.. it might come from your raw material.. and also it is better to verify (by lab testing) microbial parameter for each supplier..

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