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Experience with Hygiena Environmental Swabs?


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#1 sarahqa

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Posted 07 May 2018 - 06:01 PM

I am working on our environmental monitoring program (for FSMA and SQF), and am going to be testing for EB, APC, Salmonella, and Listeria. Our company is pretty small so I'm having a hard time getting upper management to approve all of the costs involved with a 3rd party lab.

 

I've found the Hygiena environmental swabs to be a pretty tempting, cost-effective option, but am skeptical of completing all this testing in-house and how accurate the Hygiena tests are. Does anyone have experience with these products?

 

Insite Listeria: https://www.hygiena....d-beverage.html

Insite Salmonella: https://www.hygiena....od-service.html

Microsnap EB: https://www.hygiena....d-beverage.html

Microsnap TVC: https://www.hygiena....d-beverage.html

 

Thanks so much!



#2 MsMars

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Posted 07 May 2018 - 06:24 PM

Do you have a laboratory area separate from your production facility? The concern I always have with in-house pathogen testing at a smaller company is the proximity of laboratory facilities to production areas when you are essentially culturing pathogens. Inadvertent contamination of processing areas could be a nightmare. 

 

Our facility is smaller as well.  I don't have experience with the Hygiena tests, but for us it was more cost effective to send out samples to a third-party lab after exploring in-house methods, risk of contamination, cost of laboratory equipment/premises, and training requirements of personnel.  We are in a relatively rural area and still have available lab courier that comes and picks up samples daily. Our results are available quickly - for example Listeria spp. are usually available within 36 hours (utilizing 24h BAX test method). 

 

Not sure what you have available in your area, though. It's always a good idea to also have a third-party lab in your arsenal in case you need more complicated product micro or water chemistry testing.



#3 MsMars

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Posted 07 May 2018 - 06:35 PM

And I understand that Listeria spp. and Salmonella spp. are not "pathogens" per say, but the risk of cross-contamination would still concern me if you were performing these tests in close proximity to production areas.  Plus not to mention you will need to invest in some kind of laboratory waste sterilization or biohazard trash service and other standard laboratory equipment.  

 

On an other note, I also noticed that one of the brochures for Listeria spp. notes that you will receive false positives of excessively soiled areas such as floors and drains.  IMEX this could hinder your environmental monitoring program if you are getting false positives because you will want to sample the areas in real time, i.e. during production.  We switched from VIDAS to BAX method for our Listeria testing because of this very reason - we do testing in a dough-mixing area and our laboratory advised that all the excess flour and powder debris (which is unavoidably ALWAYS on the floor and everywhere in that room, for that matter) could be giving us some false positives.



#4 FSQA

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Posted 07 May 2018 - 06:39 PM

Sheckroth,

 

Completely agree with MsMars about the hazards of In-house testing, particularly when its a smaller size company (due to cross contamination concerns).

 

However, I have used these swabs and found them to be very cost & time effective. Additionally, there technical customer service is very helpful, if needed.

 

I would recommend you to give a call to your local sales rep and ask him for Validation studies of these swabs and other related info. (I do not work or promote them, just sharing my experience as a user of these products ;) )



#5 FurFarmandFork

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Posted 07 May 2018 - 07:28 PM

My company had previously had issues with false positives, but frankly false positives happen way more often when you do pathogen testing in house vs outside, and it always feels extra bad because you have to wait for send our confirmatory testing.

 

I have heard that for certain production environments these are great though.


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#6 Charles.C

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Posted 08 May 2018 - 04:56 AM

And I understand that Listeria spp. and Salmonella spp. are not "pathogens" per say, but the risk of cross-contamination would still concern me if you were performing these tests in close proximity to production areas.  Plus not to mention you will need to invest in some kind of laboratory waste sterilization or biohazard trash service and other standard laboratory equipment.  

 

On an other note, I also noticed that one of the brochures for Listeria spp. notes that you will receive false positives of excessively soiled areas such as floors and drains.  IMEX this could hinder your environmental monitoring program if you are getting false positives because you will want to sample the areas in real time, i.e. during production.  We switched from VIDAS to BAX method for our Listeria testing because of this very reason - we do testing in a dough-mixing area and our laboratory advised that all the excess flour and powder debris (which is unavoidably ALWAYS on the floor and everywhere in that room, for that matter) could be giving us some false positives.

 

Hi MsMars,

 

Apologies to nitpick but Salmonella spp are regarded as pathogens "per se" albeit "potency" can vary with the specific species. Unlike "Listeria spp."

 

Regardless I concur with many of yr other valuable comments. IMEX with in-house micro.labs, Companies invariably tend to underestimate the labour / expertise / costs involved. Then again, external costs can be considerable also.

 

@Sheckroth,

 

The relevance of all this testing may depend on precisely what yr business is and the degree of sampling required.

"Accuracy" in micro.testing, especially for low-level pathogens is a highly debated topic. Particularly when negative results are the norm.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#7 cglm2020

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Posted 09 May 2018 - 07:07 PM

We use Hygiena micro swabs regularly here and have had minimal issues.

 

We mainly use Total Micro for our environmental swabbing. We have just started using the EB swabs as well, but I think we will be going back to the Total Micro when the EB swabs run out. 

 

The TAT is great, with results obtained by the end of the shift. 

 

We have not used the Listeria or Salmonella swabs that they offer. 

 

There may be other companies that offer similar products, but i only have experience in the Hygiena. 






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