I was hoping someone could offer some information. Our company produces filled pasta (ravioli and tortelloni). The product is produced and then refrigerated (< 40 F) or frozen (<0 F). It is sold refrigerated to local restaurants and in the frozen section of food chain stores. One of our customers has comeback and questioned us about the potential of Clostridium Botulinum. We are flushing the finished product during packaging with a MAP system, but what does that mean for Preventing C. Botulinum?
My thinking is the product is refrigerated at temperatures to retard growth, and boiling kills the bacteria. The customer is asking for a scheduled process similar to what you get when you are jarring/canning sauce but I'm not sure we need one?
I really appreciate any information or advise the group can offer.
Thank you very much.
There appears to be some confusion. MAP technology is intended to extend shelf life, not prevent a FS risk due C.Botulinum. In fact it may assist to create a risk due to C.botulinum.. Here is a brief summary of the C. botulinum problem -
Clostridium botulinum in Vacuum Packed Food
Clostridium botulinum cannot multiply on food stored where there is oxygen. However, certain food packaging methods, including canning, vacuum packaging, and modified atmosphere packaging, can create a suitable environment for the bacterium to grow. During vacuum packaging, air is removed and the food is enclosed in an airtight package. For modified atmosphere packaging, air in the package is replaced with one or several gases such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen. By excluding or greatly reducing oxygen levels, these packaging methods can prevent the growth of many spoilage microorganisms and pathogens that require oxygen to grow and thus increase the shelf-life of chilled foods. Yet, vacuum and modified atmospheric packaging does not involve a strict thermal process designed to destroy the spores of Clostridium botulinum, the spores may persist. In addition to the cases reported in Taiwan , incidents of botulism associated with smoked fish in these packages have also been reported in other countries.
Offhand, the situation for frozen and chilled goods is typically different with the C.botulinum hazard being primarily associated with the latter (see attachments previous Post).
In UK, chilled vacpack/MAP foods are subject to legal constraints regarding shelf life as has been discussed here many times, notably via attachments in Post 2 and others.
I'm unfamiliar with US situation but i anticipate there will also be some legal aspects involved.
Do you have haccp plans for yr products ? These would be expected to address the potential hazard of microbiological species including C.botulinum.