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Bloating in a few hummus products

ATP APC Yeast Mold Lactic Acid

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#1 Marshenko

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 02:06 PM

We are having an issue with some random packages bloating.  The odd thing is that they are all going to the same customer - we do batches of hummus for ourselves and all of our customers at once.

 

So, other than doing ATP, APC, Yeast/Mold swabs on the cups, film, hopper and filler, ensuring sanitation is alright, and sending out samples of finished product to get tested for APC and Lactic Acid bacteria, what else should I be looking at/for?  Could the transport company be an issue - should I send data loggers with the product going to this customer?  Could the cups or film really be contaminated; we keep them bagged after they are received, and the bag is only disturbed when cups and lids are removed.  Could it be employee practices?

 

Product is hummus.  Any help is most appreciated.



#2 FurFarmandFork

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 02:18 PM

So is any of the packaging unique to the customer? Otherwise if everything else is the same it definitely sounds like transport is the issue and you should send either irreversible temperature indicator strips or a datalogger with your next shipment.

 

Teletemp has some great strip options if you want to implement this ongoing for cheap. I use them and have been impressed with the quality.


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#3 Rener De Jesus

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 02:32 PM

The test parameters are fine.

 

But I suggest you should also checked YM from the finished products. Identify them, if possible (it really helps if you know what type of bacterial/fungal species you've isolated from your products). 

 

you can evaluate your raw materials and utensils used. employee hygiene could be a contributor as well. 

 

send temp. loggers

 

if your cups and films are properly stored and dry, not be possible source.

 

your hummus products have preservatives?



#4 Marshenko

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 02:39 PM

So, I did a couple of ATP (Hygiena Ultrasnap) swabs, and here were the results:

 

Cup (after employee handled to label) - 0

Lid (after employee handled to label)  - 0

White bucket (used to hold product in temp controlled room until packaging) - 1

FILM - 18 ... which concerns me.

 

I think temp loggers are a fantastic idea.

 

I will send some finished product out to test for APC, Y/M and lactic acid bacteria.



#5 Marshenko

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 02:40 PM

Which Telatemp product should I be looking at?



#6 Marshenko

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 10:30 PM

A couple more film swabs came out at:

 

30

151

0



#7 FurFarmandFork

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 01:37 PM

Seems like you may have some dirty film, but I'd be curious how the actual culturable micro looks vs potentially dust containing atp.

 

The warmmark strips could help you determine if the products are staying at proper temperatures, and if they exceed them for how long for only about $1 a piece. I use them on my cold brew coffee kegs to make sure that they weren't temp abused before getting to the customer.


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#8 Marshenko

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 05:44 PM

Yeah, I've got a couple products coming back from a store today that are bloated - they are going to our local lab to test for APC, lactic, yeast/mold.  Worst part is the are our original hummus - we were having problems with the ones that included veg (spinach and artichoke was the big culprit).  

 

I have access to an incubator here, I think I am gonna bring in some petrifilm and test daily while we try and figure everything out.



#9 Scampi

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 05:50 PM

Marshenko

 

Did this problem start recently?  Has the weather changed substantially?  If your running HVAC in production, the issue may lie there....just a thought


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#10 Marshenko

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 06:01 PM

That's funny - I did just pose the question as to when they had done air quality testing (I am new here) and all I got was a strange look.  I may be looking to do that as well.

 

It is Phoenix, AZ... it is 100+ every day for about 5 months straight outside.  We work in a refrigerated environment, however.

 

I guess it has been going on since before I arrived (end of June).

 

Marshenko

 

Did this problem start recently?  Has the weather changed substantially?  If your running HVAC in production, the issue may lie there....just a thought



#11 Scampi

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 06:06 PM

I would suggest then that it's the HVAC and not anything else, particularly where the produce is stored. So even though you are in a generally quite dry area, the units are pulling all the moisture from the veg and it has to go somewhere......when was the last time units were cleaned?

 

We just had to bin alot of our product as mold had formed on the produce in the cooler, if the produce is the least bit damp, and doesn't get used ASAP, it doesn't take long for yeast/mold to develop. Coolers also don't usually have great air circulation either

 

I have purchased an air sampling kit at my former post..kit plus analysis was about $700 CND, do not cheap but it worked great for my purposes. I would love to tell you who's kit it was, but I cannot remember


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#12 Marshenko

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 06:11 PM

I appreciate your thoughts.  Our local micro testing concern has air kits that I can buy from them, and perhaps I'll send some raw ingredients out for yeast/mold when I send this finished product over to get tested.



#13 foodguy63

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Posted 26 September 2018 - 03:27 PM

Marshenko, have you figured out what the culprit was?

 

Once the product is sealed, does it create an oxygen-free environment? Meaning the film and bowl you are using are oxygen-impermeable. If true, that could help limit the potential organism to either a facultative anaerobe (an organism that grows with or without oxygen) or an anaerobe (an organism that grows without oxygen). There are always exceptions to the rules, but that could potentially help narrow down the suspect list!



#14 Marshenko

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Posted 01 November 2018 - 05:57 PM

Okay, it took a while to get management to A) buy my sampling products and B) have available samples for me, but here's what I got.

 

Air Testing

1 CFU of Yeast, 1 CFU of mold in the air (it is a very small production area, I went right in the middle)

6 CFU of APC in the air

 

Product Testing

All products tested <10 CFU/g for yeast and mold

Lactic Acid Bacteria figures were: 

200 CFU/g

140 CFU/g

90 CFU/g

490 CFU/g

80 CFU/g


Edited by Marshenko, 01 November 2018 - 05:57 PM.


#15 Scampi

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Posted 01 November 2018 - 06:44 PM

https://www.research...emperatures.pdf

 

Is there a preservative added at all?  Sometimes LAB need an addition of either an acid (citric, acetic) to keep their growth in check. The article above speaks specifically to 2 different types of chemical preservatives to extend shelf in hummus

 

 

Did they change suppliers of anything before you arrived?  Do you start with dried beans?

 

The range of cfu is quite big out of the same product..........so perhaps this is an emulsification issue..............or does your film have micro perforations (assuming you trying for a MAP style plastic film under the lid)

 

Super news however, about the air samples (one less thing)

 

And in your original post, you mention that it is all prepared together.........but your only getting spoilage from 1 customer---from the same batch. Is the film exactly the same?  If everything else is identical, then the only variable left is storage temperature..........which makes it a customer issue not a manufacturing issue


Edited by Scampi, 01 November 2018 - 06:46 PM.

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#16 Marshenko

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Posted 01 November 2018 - 06:56 PM

These samples were actually our labeled product.

 

Garbanzo beans come in cooked and canned or pouched.

 

I couldn't tell you what they did before I arrived because the recordkeeping was so bad.  One of the many things I'm having to clean up.

 

No microperforations.

 

Aside from the insane amount of lemon juice we use in the product (I am consistently getting pH around 3.3-3.5) there generally isn't an additional preservative used.

 

I have noticed that we have quite a variation in temperature during process also, so it may in fact not be a customer issue, but an US issue.



#17 Marshenko

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Posted 01 November 2018 - 07:47 PM

Sorry, I thought that we were moving away from Cytoguard as a preservative, but it is still in the formula.  Can't edit previous post.



#18 Scampi

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Posted 01 November 2018 - 08:03 PM

Effect-of-temperature-on-lactic-acid-pro
Effect of temperature on lactic acid production. Experimental conditions: initial lactose concentration: 50 g/l; pH: uncontrolled; inoculum: 5% and yeast extract: 0.3%  

 

 

Marshenko...........it's really looking like a temperature issue..................too many yummy things in hummus for pH alone to keep the lactic acid bacterium at bay.

 

 

Sounds like you've got one steep hill to climb there..........hopefully this opens some eyes to make changes in how they do things

 

https://www.research..._fig7_302583305


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