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Micro Limits Pure Unpasteurised Juice


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#1 Andy_Yellows

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 08:45 AM

Hi guys,

 

I'm trying to find some form of guidance document for micro limits in the pure unpasteurised fruit juices we make on site- I've tried the micro criteria for foodstuffs and the HPA guidelines for RTE foods but neither of these have what I'm looking for. We make orange, grapefruit, lime and lemon juice and literally just squeeze it, sieve it and pack it- nothing added, no heat treatment. The pH of the juice is naturally very low. The guy who used to run the technical function here used to have the lab test for TVC, yeasts, moulds and lactic acid bacteria (I'm assuming these are the sort of tests we need to be conducting for this product!) and for the life of me I can'f find anything to help interpret the results we've been getting. Therefore it's hard to say whether the results are good or bad.

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

 

Regards,

 

Andy


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#2 Andy_Yellows

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 10:07 AM

I should add at this point that this is a refrigerated juice with 5 days' shelf life and not a shelf stable ambient product


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#3 BrummyJim

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 11:43 AM

Hi Andy,

 

Surely you should be testing the raw material as Y/M tests take 5 days and TVC takes 48 hours. You'll not be able to do anything like positive release by testing the juice.



#4 Andy_Yellows

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 12:49 PM

Hi BrummyJim, we don't lab test our products for positive release purposes. Our lab testing is a verification exercise to show that our processes and cleaning are sufficient. Action plans are in place for any unsatisfactory results that come back.

 

Andy


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#5 Urban Explorer

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Posted 29 November 2017 - 02:16 PM

As someone else mentioned, you should be testing the raw materials, food contact packaging materials, and equipment on a regular basis to gather data.  With fresh produce, you can't get a COA obviously.

I would recommend that you do a shelf life study to see how the bacterial load increases over those five days and any pH and organoleptic changes (if you haven't already) for a validation. Refrigerated temps and ambient since the product can be temperature abused by transport, storage and consumers.

 

Generally, for pasteurized products as a guidance (you should go with the strictest limitis since your product is not as safe):

Coliform/E.coli: <100/mL

Aerobic (TVC): <10,000/mL (I have seen up to 100,000)

Lactic (LAB): <100/mL

Y&M: <100/mL

Listeria: Negative

Salmonella: Negative

E.Coli O157:H7: Negative

 

It's best to do pathogen testing at least annually for validation.

 

I'm not sure of UK regulations concerning raw juice but here in the US, the FDA requires you to have scientific data showing that your product is safe for consumption.  I worked with HPP beverages (High Pressure Processing), pasteurized juice and in a food micro lab.  The HPP products were monitored closely by the FDA because it's a relatively new process and I know several companies that had notices to stop production until they had all that data.  With raw juice, they'd be all over you here.

 

So basically, it sounds like you need to beef up your program big time.  By the time you find out your juice may be contaminated, it's too late with that short a shelf life.

 

How fast is your turn around time from receipt of the fruit to processing?  There are Rapid Y&M petrifilms which will give results in 2 days, rapid TVC petrifilm in 1 day, LAB petrifilm in 2 days, Coliform petriflm in 1 day (from 3M) that you can do in house as long as you have an incubator and sterile place to plate them up.  You can also swab equipment and people using letheen broth type swabs that you can plate.

 

I hope this was helpful, but I would recommend finding a UK micro lab for some proper guidance.  I believe Eurofins has a branch over there.



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#6 Andy_Yellows

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 08:11 AM

Hi Urban Explorer,

 

Thank you for your feedback. We do undertake annual end-of-life lab tests on all products we produce at our facility for Listeria and E.Coli 0157 as well as organoleptic testing. These are both annual and we also test the pH of the product in-house with each batch made (we've yet to see a reading above 3.8)

 

Personally I agree with both yours and BrummyJim's comments that we should be testing products before they go out to customers in case contamination is flagged but with the short shelf-life this just isn't possible and with our awarding body more than happy with our current sampling regime we don't see a need to revolutionise the entire plan.

 

I will make a point of discussing the comments with our FS consultant.

 

Many thanks,

 

Andy


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#7 FurFarmandFork

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Posted 30 November 2017 - 03:50 PM

TVC, yeasts, moulds and lactic acid bacteria

 

These are going to be based on your internal company data more often than not. If none of them are of public health concern and you have a short-life product without a kill step, you're looking for outliers in your historical data, or comparing limits to previous sensory failures due to microbial growth or bulging of packaging from yeast fermentation.


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#8 Andy_Yellows

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 08:01 AM

Hi FF&F,

 

So I'm basically just looking for deviations from regular results as these are merely quality tests is what I believe you're saying. Thank you


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#9 FurFarmandFork

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Posted 01 December 2017 - 04:54 PM

Hi FF&F,

 

So I'm basically just looking for deviations from regular results as these are merely quality tests is what I believe you're saying. Thank you

You're welcome Andy, just make sure you're happy with your limits. If you think that your company would release anyway if you exceeded them, then it's often helpful to establish an "investigation" limit for these tests rather than a "hold/recall" limit. Then just make you you document any investigation that occurs so that you can show action was taken even if the product was sold regardless. 


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#10 Kelly S

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Posted 05 December 2017 - 11:10 PM

Could I ask what kinds of results you're seeing with the TVC testing? I would have thought that since the product isn't pasteurised that these results would usually be quite high and generally unhelpful for any real indicator of quality.

 

I'm not sure if it will help as it's an Australian document but I've attached the FSANZ Compendium of Micro Criteria which may be useful.


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#11 Charles.C

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 12:52 AM

Hi Andy,

 

Maybe of some assistance -

 

Attached File  Bacteriological safety of fruit-vegetable juices, 2007.pdf   389.71KB   31 downloads

 

Attached File  micro. specs for foods, 1997..pdf   2.59MB   33 downloads

(eg pg 156)

 

Attached File  FAO - small-medium scale fruit juice processing.pdf   2.47MB   28 downloads


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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#12 Andy_Yellows

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Posted 06 December 2017 - 07:15 AM

Could I ask what kinds of results you're seeing with the TVC testing? I would have thought that since the product isn't pasteurised that these results would usually be quite high and generally unhelpful for any real indicator of quality.

 

I'm not sure if it will help as it's an Australian document but I've attached the FSANZ Compendium of Micro Criteria which may be useful.

 

Hi Kelly and Charles, thank you both for your help, I'll make a point of browsing through the documents posted. Kelly- unfortunately your document doesn't appear to have been attached?

 

Regards,

 

Andy


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