Jump to content

  • Quick Navigation
- - - - -

Environmental Monitoring Program - TPC vs EB; do we need both tests?

  • You cannot start a new topic
  • Please log in to reply
2 replies to this topic

#1 acef2104


    Grade - Active

  • IFSQN Active
  • 13 posts
  • 4 thanks

  • New Zealand
    New Zealand

Posted 10 August 2017 - 12:25 AM

Hi all,


We currently have a very rigorous EMP in our facility and unfortunately, it is that time of the year where we need to start looking into reducing cost and finance decided to scrutinise the external lab test costs in QA. So, I am currently reviewing the program and there are a lot of areas where I think routine monitoring is needed so what I want to do is to reduce the no. of micro tests we are doing.


At present we are doing TPC, EB, Y&M for direct product contact [DPC], indirect product contact [IPC] and non-food product contact surface adjacent to the product [NPCA] (we use the AIB convention) and  Salmonella & E.coli for non-product contact surface in the processing zone [NPCP].


I read from a EMP implementation slide:


There are a number of indicator tests that can be used for PEM
programs in nut processing operations
– Coliforms/Escherichia coli
– Total Enterobacteriaceae counts (TEB counts) which are
superior to the coliform group as an indicator of sanitation
• Another indicator that is used in the food industry as a quality
indicator is the Aerobic Plate Count (APC)
– APC’s cannot be used as a safety indicator for pathogens
because in almost all cases there is no correlation


From this information, would it be ok for me to reduce testing frequency of TPC for these points or is it essential that TPC/EB as micro indicators is needed for EMP?


Please note, I am not only reducing frequency of testing because of cost but also risk. I have data which indicates no microload on the tested surfaces for the last few months thus supports reduction in testing as well. Furthermore, products we manufacture have a high microload already (seasonings) however, we still want to ensure lowest level of microbial contamination exposure through EMP.


Would appreciate your viewpoint on this - I'm not an industrial microbiologist and would want your opinion on how to go forward with this as well.





#2 Rener De Jesus

Rener De Jesus

    Grade - AIFSQN

  • IFSQN Associate
  • 39 posts
  • 3 thanks

  • Philippines
  • Gender:Male

Posted 10 August 2017 - 02:16 AM

That is very risky move. In my experience, EB is enough to support the bacterial load of the surfaces. Usually, TPC is the normal microbial flora, not a threat in general. So, I used EB as weekly monitoring and TPC for random samples.

You should also consider the goal of your EMP. If you want to make sure there is no pathogens in your area, you could not include TPC. But if you want both, pathogen and efficiency of your sanitation procedures, TPC is still important. Further, you can reduce the sampling frequency for those surfaces you think very rare to have high microbial load, since you already have data.

#3 Charles.C


    Grade - FIFSQN

  • IFSQN Moderator
  • 18,229 posts
  • 5112 thanks

  • Earth
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:SF

Posted 10 August 2017 - 05:52 AM

Hi ace,


EMP programs are potentially directed 2 ways - (a) Hygiene, (b) Pathogens. The micro. monitoring is implemented accordingly.


The monitoring choices for zonal testing options are typically risk based unless you are being audited to some specific Private/Regulatory FS Standard which defines the specific requirements (?).


Assuming this is a nut processing operation and you have a free choice of EMP program, i suggest you study the Zoning EMP Nut publication of GMA which attached  in this link -




I didn't really understand the context of yr query in bold type. Sorry.

Kind Regards,



0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users