I am a new quality manager with a small chocolatier in the US. I have had most of my experience in the RTE Pork industry with bacon and sausage. I am playing catch up on some of the micro and had a question.
I have two clients that have defined their product spec with regards to micro testing as "all sampling must comply with the FDA regulations set". We use an outside tester (microbac) for our COA's and micro testing. My problem is I can't find any sort of limits on results for yeast and mold. I have looked through our SOP's and SQF plan, but they are very basic and generic. I have read through the FDA BAM and there are no limits posted.
The product is chocolate, carmel and pecans, I assume pecans would be the biggest contributor of yeast and mold. The supplier of the pecans gave us a COA has limits of <500 cfu, and after speaking with their quality department I was told their limits are customer driven and is not based on any research or ties to the FDA. The product tested at 300 cfu and I was told that this was the highest result that the operations manager had seen.
I am looking for some industry research or FDA requirement that I can use in the justification of our micro policy with there are any questions from the clients. This is a quality driven company and I want limits that reflex that and provide products that are safe with a long self life. I not sure that the <500 cfu from the supplier is where we should be.