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Environmental Sampling Procedures - Microbial Zones and Trends

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Lisa Feather

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Posted 16 May 2018 - 05:52 PM

Hello All, 


I'm new to this forum.  I work in a dry process facility in the tea and herbal tea industry.  To meet SQF code 8 compliance,

I'm working to strengthen our environmental sampling program (microbial swabbing & testing in production and zones leading to the food contact areas?


Any suggestions for current info regarding zones and trend analysis? 


Thank you in advance for your feedback. 




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Posted 16 May 2018 - 07:26 PM

I also just started implementing an environmental monitoring program at our facility and am in the gathering data stage to determine our acceptable/unacceptable limits, schedule, frequency, sites, etc. I watched this old webinar from IFSQN and found it very useful in putting together the program.



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Gerard H.

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Posted 17 May 2018 - 08:00 AM

Hi Lisa,


Nice to meet you on this nice forum! Here are some suggestions for your environmental sampling plan:

  • For the zones: 2 zones - Direct and indirect food contact
  • For the trend analysis: You can start to do it monthly.

What's very important is the follow up. The actions you take timely, in the case of an Out of Spec result. You shall intensively document the root cause analysis and the (improvement) actions done in such situations. Afterwards (= soon after) you need to show by resampling, that you actions were sufficiently effective. Furthermore you need to analyse whether there were risks or not for your product.


Kind regards,


Gerard Heerkens

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Posted 18 May 2018 - 03:27 PM

One of the goals of EMP program is to 'seek-and-destroy' and an escalation protocol.  Any positive would require a CAPA and re-swabbing of the area until you have three consecutive negative results.

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