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New methods of allergen testing fresh dairy products facility


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lmacfarland

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 07:17 PM

I am looking at a new method of allergen testing within my facility. We produce fresh dairy products that have many inclusions and different types of allergens. I have some experience with  AllerSnap and the facility was using ATP Allergen testing prior to my arrival. 

 

I am not overly familiar with the ATP system that was in place when I began at this facility and have mixed feelings about it based on our current fluctuation in results. 

 

Hope some of you can provide some information on your methods and pros or cons of the one your are currently using. Also if there is any other methods that are effective and I may not be considering. 

 

 

Thanks so much for any input.

 



Charles.C

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Posted 14 December 2018 - 09:52 PM

I am looking at a new method of allergen testing within my facility. We produce fresh dairy products that have many inclusions and different types of allergens. I have some experience with  AllerSnap and the facility was using ATP Allergen testing prior to my arrival. 

 

I am not overly familiar with the ATP system that was in place when I began at this facility and have mixed feelings about it based on our current fluctuation in results. 

 

Hope some of you can provide some information on your methods and pros or cons of the one your are currently using. Also if there is any other methods that are effective and I may not be considering. 

 

 

Thanks so much for any input.

 

Hi imacfarland,

 

afaik a positive ATP result does not prove existence of an allergen. And similarly a negative one unless you can validate the correlation for the specific cases.

 

Generally allergen testing requires allergen-specific methods.

 

Which allergens are you interested in ?


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


lmacfarland

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Posted 17 December 2018 - 05:57 PM

The facility currently has:

Wheat

Soy

Egg

Tree Nut

Dairy

Sulfites

 

This is the why we are considering the AllerSnap. With BRC I am wondering if using the AllerSnap would be sufficient for our testing needs



pHruit

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Posted 18 December 2018 - 03:31 PM

AllerSnap understandably appears to focus on protein detection, so won't help with Sulphites but then neither will ATP - SO2 isn't a protein.

Can't comment on whether it's any good in general. I'd be asking Hygiena / your local potential supplier for some proper information on it, as the stuff on their website is a bit limited IMO.



Lesley.Roberts

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Posted 18 December 2018 - 04:02 PM

I agree with PHruit.

 

I have been looking at allergen testing across our sites - Hygiena do appear to be the cheapest & if you use their ATP hygiene swabs you can usually get a further discount for the allergen swabs. 

If you don't use their ATP hygiene swabs, but want to change supplier they have very good customer service & based on annual usage, will replace your current ATP swab reader FOC to the latest model (which is self calibrating & trends all your data as well as giving an "audit" of when the swab was read)

 

There is also Neogen - they tend to be a bit pricier but have a good range of swabs & great technical support.

 

Depending on your customers & certification you may be required to 'validate' efficacy of the rapid methods by conducting a dual swab (one rapid, one traditional - same area - split in two) & sending the standard swab to an external lab, which backs up the rapid result.  This really is a sensible way to proceed if you don't have 100% confidence in the rapid methods, although it can be pricey with six allergens & probably multiple areas?...

 

Happy to provide contact details for Hygiena if required?



Charles.C

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Posted 19 December 2018 - 04:03 PM

Here is  the SQF7 viewpoint -

 

SQFI Guidance
RE: 2.8.3 Allergen Cleaning and Sanitation Practices

The SQF Code requires validation and verification of cleaning and sanitizing procedures for the product
contact equipment, and therefore the use of finished product testing for validation of cleaning is not
considered  adequate.    A  program  of  verification  needs  to  be  built  on  an  initial  validation  study  that
identifies  the  target  allergen(s)  ,  threshold  levels,  and  the  severity  of  contamination,  and  shows  the
cleaning  process  and  testing  used  are  effective  to  give  the  desired  results  consistently.  Once  the
cleaning process has been validated as effective, a verification/monitoring/inspection program shall be
established to assure that the validated cleaning process is being used, is maintained and effective.

Validation   
The purpose of validation is to prove that the cleaning process employed is effective in removing the
allergen  of  concern.    This  proof  requires  evidence  that  the  specific  allergen  was  in  fact  removed,  or
reduced to an acceptable level by the cleaning procedure.  Therefore, only an allergen specific test will
provide that evidence
.   
The  acceptable  validation  testing  methods  involve  the  use  of  a  test  specific  to  the  allergen  being
removed.  These generally require the use of a test method which uses an antigen (the allergen) and an
antibody specific to the antigen.  One example of the antigen and antibody test is the enzyme linked
immuno-assay or ELISA method.  The ELISA method can be either quantitative or qualitative and can be
conducted in a laboratory or with test kits available for in plant use; either is acceptable.  ELISA test kits
are  available  from  several  manufacturers  and  are  commonly  used  in  the  food  processing  industry.  
Lateral  flow  test  devices  also  use  an  ELISA-based method  and  are  also  effective  in  detecting  specific
allergens.  While lateral flow devices are qualitative only, most have sensitivities around 10 parts per
million(ppm) and are available for most of the common allergens and are designed for use in a plant
environment.         
Both  the  ELISA  tests  and  lateral  flow  test  kits  have  been  accepted  by  recognized  allergen  research
scientists and meet the requirements for sanitation validation of the SQF Code. It must be noted that
there may be other ‘acceptable’ tests for validation methods that can be used but the test must meet
the “allergen specific” criteria or provide some other evidence that the validation is effective.  The SQF
Institute does not endorse any particular technology or methodology and relies on the facility to provide
the evidence of a scientifically validated and effective cleaning method.   Like any validation of any  food
safety control, periodic re-validation is required to account for any changes that may have occurred.  
Not all allergens have specific test kits available which includes some fin fish and allergens that have
been modified by fermentation, heating or hydrolysis.  

Verification  
Once a validated cleaning method has been shown to remove the allergenic material of concern, the
facility  must  verify  that  the  validated  procedures  were  used  each  time.    This  verification  must  be
documented by a responsible person from the facility who has been trained in the validated cleaning
method.    The  most  common  method  used  is  direct  observation  of  the  validated  cleaning  procedure
during  the  sanitation  process.    Another  acceptable  verification  method  is  the  use  of  highly  sensitive
swabs that test for proteins.  These recently developed swabs will detect total protein at approximately
20  ppm.    Since  these  devices  only  test  for  total  protein  and  not  specific  allergens,  they  are  not
acceptable for validation but will serve to verify that equipment has been thoroughly cleaned
There are
also sensitive ATP test swabs available however the presence of ATP does not indicate the presence of
protein which is the allergenic material.  The use of these total protein swabs or the ATP sensitive swabs
must be calibrated with the validated cleaning procedure by using them immediately after the validated
method is used and recording the results of both the allergen specific test and the protein or ATP swab
test
.   It is also to ensure surface swabbing is occurring at corners, joins, and crevices in the equipment
as well as open surfaces, to check for protein held up in equipment.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C





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