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#1 Yettos

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 12:37 AM

I am in charge of sanitation in fresh produce processing plant. So far my experience with ATP testing was mixed at best, due to very short cleaning windows the main focus is to get factory micro biologically clean, is seems it is much more effective to visually inspect machines to ensure good standards and no harbourage spots rather than do ATP testing.

 

Moreover I did comparison of ATP swabs and Entro/TVC taken from areas next to each other and found that Entro/TVC passing despite ATP fails.

 

A good use I found for ATP is for training of new hygiene operatives to show them that visually clean surface might not be sufficiently cleaned and to get them in right mindset when it comes to microbiological risks.

 

I have 15 micro swabs taken daily post clean across large factory, is ATP needed in that scenario? What is your opinion on ATP in general?



#2 Charles.C

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 12:36 PM

I am in charge of sanitation in fresh produce processing plant. So far my experience with ATP testing was mixed at best, due to very short cleaning windows the main focus is to get factory micro biologically clean, is seems it is much more effective to visually inspect machines to ensure good standards and no harbourage spots rather than do ATP testing.

 

Moreover I did comparison of ATP swabs and Entro/TVC taken from areas next to each other and found that Entro/TVC passing despite ATP fails.

 

A good use I found for ATP is for training of new hygiene operatives to show them that visually clean surface might not be sufficiently cleaned and to get them in right mindset when it comes to microbiological risks.

 

I have 15 micro swabs taken daily post clean across large factory, is ATP needed in that scenario? What is your opinion on ATP in general?

 

Hi Yettos,

 

So what is yr product type / process ?

 

There is "biological" cleanliness and then there is "microbiological" cleanliness.

ATP typically tends to estimate the former, micro.analysis the latter. Sometimes the two values show close correlation but typically not so much, eg one can find surfaces with low RLU but high APC and vice versa.

 

Attached File  Measuring_Cleanliness.pdf   208.42KB   211 downloads

 

So the choice of tool rather depends on what you wish to evaluate, eg yr criteria for "cleanliness". And perhaps yr permissible action time.

 

Also all ATP instruments are perhaps not created entirely equal, eg -

 

Attached File  A Comparison of ATP Systems.pdf   760.82KB   129 downloads

 

Some possible micro.criteria for cleaned/sanitised food contact surfaces are here -

 

http://www.ifsqn.com...ces/#entry60958

 

Some food categories / suggested ATP criteria are here -

 

Attached File  Guide-to-ATP-Hygiene-Monitoring.pdf   1.61MB   156 downloads

 

There are many threads/discussions here relating to yr end query, I suggest a couple for starters -

 

http://www.ifsqn.com...d-mold-testing/

 

http://www.ifsqn.com...ing/#entry58355


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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#3 Ryan M.

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Posted 20 December 2017 - 11:16 PM

There isn't a direct correlation between ATP (RLU levels) and micro testing.  Your best bet is to do a micro swab study prior and post cleaning to validate your cleaning methods.

 

The ATP can be used to verify, but the micro can be as well.  I do agree with you where visual clean can replace ATP, but the risk with visual clean is not having the proper training and inspection.  A lot of companies just resort to ATP because it is easier to effectively manage with employees.  Visual clean requires expertise, good training, and continued follow-up.



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#4 mgourley

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Posted 20 December 2017 - 11:39 PM

And of course it all depends on your process/product.

 

I can look at a dough mixer and determine whether or not it is clean. If I swab for ATP and it's over the "not clean" limit, I make the decision whether I need to re-clean it or not. Product is low risk, going to go through an oven that will kill any objectional pathogens (which we test for and are not present).

 

Personally, I think ATP is a scam, designed to make money for the companies that sell the luminometers and their associated swabs.

Again, it all depends on your process/product.

 

Marshall



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#5 Yettos

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Posted 23 December 2017 - 09:17 AM

Thank you for your input.

 

I do have the impression that ATP is not as reliable as it seems to be promoted. It might be dependable on product and I cant find its reading helpful in my factory.

 

I am working with RTE spinach and salad mixes that go through PAA bath and it is confirmed by extensive micro history that production can run up to 72h without any sanitation, just gross debris removal during water and product changes. Due to nature of that product, micro biologically it is quite low risk as there inst any proteins or fats for pathogens to grow, and yet ATP results are way out of spec provided by manual. I get fails on machines I personally oversaw cleaning and helped operatives scrub down and I am certain that surfaces are as clean as they can be. Truth be told due to available cleaning windows attention to detail is not on a level I would like it to be especially NFC areas, but still all food contact surfaces are properly scrubbed down with chlorinated caustic foam. Luminometer is calibrated monthly with no issues and I tried swabbing both pre and post disinfection, similar results.

 

Is a study to set new ATP limits for factory a way to go here? Technical manager is noy too keen on idea of removing ATP altogether, and yet on audits he always leads auditor away from those and bases are verification on laboratory micro swabs.



#6 Charles.C

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Posted 23 December 2017 - 10:43 PM

Thank you for your input.

 

I do have the impression that ATP is not as reliable as it seems to be promoted. It might be dependable on product and I cant find its reading helpful in my factory.

 

I am working with RTE spinach and salad mixes that go through PAA bath and it is confirmed by extensive micro history that production can run up to 72h without any sanitation, just gross debris removal during water and product changes. Due to nature of that product, micro biologically it is quite low risk as there inst any proteins or fats for pathogens to grow, and yet ATP results are way out of spec provided by manual. I get fails on machines I personally oversaw cleaning and helped operatives scrub down and I am certain that surfaces are as clean as they can be. Truth be told due to available cleaning windows attention to detail is not on a level I would like it to be especially NFC areas, but still all food contact surfaces are properly scrubbed down with chlorinated caustic foam. Luminometer is calibrated monthly with no issues and I tried swabbing both pre and post disinfection, similar results.

 

Is a study to set new ATP limits for factory a way to go here? Technical manager is noy too keen on idea of removing ATP altogether, and yet on audits he always leads auditor away from those and bases are verification on laboratory micro swabs.

 

Hi Yettos,

 

"NFC" = ?

 

"Disinfection" = ?

 

"Low Risk" is not necessarily solely quantified by micro. growth potential.

 

There possibly remains some confusion as to what ATP is typically measuring. See Post 2.

 

You typically need to establish an operational  ATP baseline for what you regard as "adequately" cleaned surfaces as provided by your  documented routine cleaning program (= cleaning/sanitising). See Post 2.

 

If you wish a more quantitative response i suggest you post some data illustrating yr procedure for establishing current baseline limits (= Luminometer calibration ??)  and some typical ATP levels for your unclean surfaces.

 

How do you define a satisfactory, microbiologically clean, surface ?


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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#7 Aliali

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Posted 25 December 2017 - 03:19 AM

ATP is an powerful indication of plant cleanliness. The ATP limit needs be carefully validated and reviewed to meet the final product specification. Sampling points are also important to ensure they are the repetitiveness points of the plant. 



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#8 Ryan M.

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Posted 25 December 2017 - 02:47 PM

FWIW...most companies with that product would consider it HIGH RISK.  Green leafy vegetables have had numerous problems with listeria and e.coli.  Think of risk in terms of the risk without doing anything in your facility.



#9 Yettos

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 04:16 AM

Hi Yettos,

 

"NFC" = ?

 

"Disinfection" = ?

 

"Low Risk" is not necessarily solely quantified by micro. growth potential.

 

There possibly remains some confusion as to what ATP is typically measuring. See Post 2.

 

You typically need to establish an operational  ATP baseline for what you regard as "adequately" cleaned surfaces as provided by your  documented routine cleaning program (= cleaning/sanitising). See Post 2.

 

If you wish a more quantitative response i suggest you post some data illustrating yr procedure for establishing current baseline limits (= Luminometer calibration ??)  and some typical ATP levels for your unclean surfaces.

 

How do you define a satisfactory, microbiologically clean, surface ?

 

 

Hi Charles

 

NFC - Non food contact surface

Disinfection - Final step of cleaning - spraying 1% disinfectant solution on all cleaned surfaces and allowed to air dry

 

Calibration of luminomenter is done against the device's manual monthly. No baseline levels were established, clean/unclean limits were taken out of manual.

 

Effectiveness of cleaning is verified by visual inspection by manager or supervisor and aprox 15 swabs are taken daily for TVC and Enterobacteriaceae with separate schedule for Listeria swabbing.

 

 

It seems that I need to establish my own ATP levels for clean/unclean surfaces. This is my first contact with ATP so I am not sure how to proceed. Would you be able to find an example document or procedure? What reduction in ATP are we looking for dirty vs clean surface?

 

 

 

FWIW...most companies with that product would consider it HIGH RISK.  Green leafy vegetables have had numerous problems with listeria and e.coli.  Think of risk in terms of the risk without doing anything in your facility.

 

Hi Ryan

 

I do see your point. I was initially shocked to see current practices, but according to historical micro results production can run up 96 hours without any sanitation, just gross debris removal during wash tank water changes and product changes. For 12 months I have been in my current role we had no major detection in high care areas and in finished product. I have been genuinely surprised to learn it, since hygiene department is severely understaffed and cleaning windows in peak times average less than 2 hours. 

 

 

Hi Charles

 

NFC - Non food contact surface

Disinfection - Final step of cleaning - spraying 1% disinfectant solution on all cleaned surfaces and allowed to air dry

 

Calibration of luminomenter is done against the device's manual monthly. No baseline levels were established, clean/unclean limits were taken out of manual.

 

Effectiveness of cleaning is verified by visual inspection by manager or supervisor and aprox 15 swabs are taken daily for TVC and Enterobacteriaceae with separate schedule for Listeria swabbing.

 

 

It seems that I need to estabilish my own ATP levels for clean/unclean surfaces. This is my first contact with ATP so I am not sure how to proceed. Would you be able to find an example document or procedure?

 

 



#10 Charles.C

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 06:06 AM

Hi Yettos,

 

It seems that I need to estabilish my own ATP levels for clean/unclean surfaces. This is my first contact with ATP so I am not sure how to proceed. Would you be able to find an example document or procedure?

 

Post 2, 3rd attachment, Pg16.

 

The additional attachments/links also contain useful information regarding ATP.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#11 GMO

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Posted 27 December 2017 - 10:43 AM

Meh.  I know others do but I don't "believe" in ATP testing.  As you rightly said, ATP can fail when counts are low but I've also had a situation where a member of staff came to see me saying "the ATP swab passed but I can see debris". 

My obvious response was "so it's not clean then is it?"

 

As one other commenter said, it can be a training tool but I will tell you a story.  I used to have a hygiene team leader who loved ATP swabs.  She would take 60 a day.  This would cost us over £10k p.a..  Hygiene standards were not good.  We stopped her doing routine ATPs and hygiene standards got worse.  Now this wasn't, as you may imagine, because the ATP was showing anything useful, but because when she was inspecting and using ATP swabs she spotted visible debris and got the area recleaned.  When we took away the ATP swabs, she wasn't inspecting the machines anymore (even though we didn't ask her to stop).

 

What did we do?  Did we reinstate ATP swabbing?  No.  We bought torches and got the operators and the team leaders to inspect as a two layer inspection.  Results dramatically improved to even better than when we were ATP swabbing.  So my lesson was ATP in itself was about as useful as a chocolate teapot but it did encourage auditing of cleanliness at the end of a cleaning shift, but if you can find another way to ensure that happens and provide the resources for it, the finished result may be even better.  If you are still wedded to ATP swabs though, I urge you to cost out how much you're spending on them.  If it's as much as we were, that could have paid for an additional 20 deep cleans a year on one of our key bits of equipment.  I'll take the deep cleans thank you!



#12 tmfoley68

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 06:04 PM

I also am in a fresh produce processing plant.  ATP is a good indicator of cleanliness however over my many years I have learned there are a few caveats...Quaternary ammonium can give you a false positive so we make sure its biologically clean by swabbing after cleaning but prior to sanitizing. If its biologically clean and you THEN apply sanitizer in theory its microbial clean. 

 

We run two different lines one where everything produced goes to further processors and is heat treated. The hazard is ultimately controlled by our customer so ATP testing pre-sanitation with  Quaternary ammonium based sanitizer is all we do on that line, on the RTE line we do the same BUT use a different type sanitizer and the efficacy of the method is verified by product sampling. We test finished product for Listeria SPP, e. Coli and Salmonella .... I decided when the cantaloupe thing happened to to test different sanitizers we use on fruits and vegetables in pre-wash prior to processing and found a BioSafe product called SaniDate to be far superior to chlorine, Its peroxide based, broadly labeled can be used to sanitize the surface of fruits and vegetables, FCS or even equipment...so we use it exclusively in the RTE Flume and on RTE equipment and use  use chlorine in the flume on the line that is further processed. Chlorine is cheap and if its being heat treated anyway I just need the water sanitized I am not as worried about the actual commodity surface being sanitized.

 

We also ATP test both areas -pre-production and if even one surface fails complete post operational cleaning procedure is conducted again, we ATP swab if it passes we sanitize and commence processing. For this reason we use only no rinse sanitzers. I have found over the years from one afternoon to the next morning all my swabs always pass, however if the room sits over a weekend with no production something will occasionally fail come Monday morning.



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#13 Scampi

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Posted 03 July 2018 - 06:34 PM

tmfoley68 makes a really good point that had not been mentioned. I've always swabbed post clean and pre sanitizer for the false readings you may get as the sanitizes will interfere


Because we always have is never an appropriate response!


#14 Charles.C

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 03:46 AM

Hi tmfoley,

 

Thks for input. A few comments.

 

Sanidate is likely especially potent due to containing H2O2 + peroxyacetic acid.

 

Worth reiterating that sampling is a major factor as far as (not) detecting Envo. pathogens is involved. Enterobacteriaceae might be a useful addition to yr Suite.

 

I assume that traces of detergent did not significantly affect ATP results.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#15 QAGB

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Posted 09 July 2018 - 07:45 PM

I agree with the points above, and also sanitizer interference is a good catch. We use a quat based sanitizer, and we have to get a special type of swab for ATP testing purposes. I've seen in many cases when doing visual checks, swabs are visibly dirty, and ATP swab RLU results are low. In that case, those areas still get re-cleaned along with areas that looked visibly clean but had high RLU results.

 

ATP by itself is not a failsafe method; it's at least equally important to still conduct visual checks and use those checks as the basis of your inspection approvals/fails. For my purposes, visual inspections are still the first thing I do before I swab anything. There's no point in swabbing anything if I can visibly see residue. 

 

At one point I tried using an ATP water test to see if our residual cleaning water could be spot checked using ATP testing to correlate with APC; and that was a massive failure. I don't think ATP is very effective, and areas I mostly use it in would be allergen areas. Even then, I perform visual tests first, along with allergen specific testing for each protein type, and ATP to follow. For me, it's just an extra check to fortify other methods of inspection. 

 

QAGB



#16 selmaassili

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Posted 29 October 2018 - 04:50 PM

hello , all 

i was wondering if we could use the ATP testing( wa have BioControl Lightning)  to detect the presence of  allergens ( milk/ soja in lecithin/ peanuts)

 

thank you 



#17 tmfoley68

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Posted 29 October 2018 - 05:47 PM

hello , all 

i was wondering if we could use the ATP testing( wa have BioControl Lightning)  to detect the presence of  allergens ( milk/ soja in lecithin/ peanuts)

 

thank you

BioControl does make a product you can use however you do not need the Lightning test machine to use it.  It is called FLASH and its a swab, once you swab the area you press the plunger to activate like an ATP swab but instead of the Machine reading it you use a color chart, like you would for a test strip.....here is a link to the product......http://www.biocontro...016 Low Res.pdf



#18 Charles.C

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Posted 29 October 2018 - 07:36 PM

BioControl does make a product you can use however you do not need the Lightning test machine to use it.  It is called FLASH and its a swab, once you swab the area you press the plunger to activate like an ATP swab but instead of the Machine reading it you use a color chart, like you would for a test strip.....here is a link to the product......http://www.biocontro...016 Low Res.pdf

 

This is a, afaik, non-specific, protein detector.

Allergens are associated with specific proteins.

 

A protein detector can only be an indicator of quantitative value if the result is negative and sensitivity is validated to be equal or better than that of the relevant, corresponding, specific allergen detector (as appropriate to the related process).

 

Protein swabs alone should not be used for allergen control, but in situations where no test kit is available to screen for a particular allergen, verification with a surrogate system such as general protein or ATP testing can be useful.

http://blog.neogen.c...should-you-use/

 

 

General article on allergen control here -

https://www.foodsafe...ergen-swabbing/


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C






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