Please can someone provide links/access to scientific papers that prove at low aw (<0.3) and low moisture (almost zero) there is no potential for microbial growth? The reason for this is - we manufacture flavors and the liquid flavors we manufacture are usually made with oils (rbd sunflower, coconut, or even medium chain triglycerides) and pure FEMA GRAS chemicals. Both low risk (common sense).
Based on risk assessment we do not test microbial growth in our liquid flavors because of its inherent characteristics (low aw, low moisture, nature of ingredients, historical recall data) however we have an auditor who wants to see scientific justification to prove why a full microbiological profile testing is not required.( )
All of our suppliers have confirmed low risk, attested to sanitation and environmental preventive controls at their end, and said micro testing is of no value, and similarly at our manufacturing end as well we have justified good manufacturing practices including the above to account for inability to contaminate the low risk product during processing. I reached out to a lab here in the US and they volunteered to do a challenge study for >6K (would have gone for it if it was a high risk product that we were not testing for micro).
Please can someone help me?