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Presence of alga/seaweed in a mineral water bottle

foreign body alga mineralwater bottle

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HabibBF

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 08:39 AM

Good morning everyone,

 

I work for a company that is specialised in mineral water PET bottling. However we have recently received a customer complaint that alleges the presence of alga/seaweed in a bottled mineral water. To be honest, it is not the first time we receive such a complaint.

I really want to ask  for you help to determine the potential causes of occurring of this nasty issue. What are alga? are they considered as molds? how could they be developed in bottled mineral water? which solutions should we implement in the production process to eliminate or reduce the risk of their presence in water?

 

Thanks in advance.



EagleEye

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 11:53 AM

Hello HabibBF,

 

Algae are a group of photosynthetic organisms, vary from single celled microalgae to multicellular large seaweeds. Clearly, they are not molds by nature.

 

I am not aware that to how much extent you treat your water before bottling but even you do maximum, the chances are still highly likely to find microbiological entities. As they naturally present in the water and (supposedly) you are not sterilizing the water, there are good chances to proliferate when condition become favorable.

If you are confident about your treatment methods, other possible sources/windows of contamination can be investigated. Inspect your machines, pipes, valves, nozzles,operators, working area, empty bottles and other possible input scenarios.

 

What about exposure to sunlight? are your customer keeping it in sunlight for prolonged time? This will probably trigger proliferation of algae when they present in such a nutrient rich medium like minerals. 

 

How about your TDS control? Have a cross check..

 

Wish you all the best



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The Food Scientist

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 12:26 PM

What are your CCPs? Pehaps you may want to reassess your HACCP program with this issue.


Everything in food is science. The only subjective part is when you eat it. - Alton Brown.


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QA-Tech

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 09:43 PM

Agree with above suggestions: Water famously makes things grow.

 

Keep in mind that the reported growth may have been misidentified by the consumer and therefore could be algae, but could also be a type of mold growth, etc.

 

As suggested, it may serve you well to do some routine general testing (HPC, yeast&mold,etc.)  to get an idea of the scale of biological organisms likely to be present in your finished product and throughout your process. This will also help in assessing the strength of your Haccp program and treatment methods.



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HabibBF

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 08:19 AM

Hello EagleEye,

 

Thanks for your recommendations. However I want to check, how alga could be conveyed? are they ground-borne or airborne or both ? from where they could come from ?

Hello HabibBF,

 

Algae are a group of photosynthetic organisms, vary from single celled microalgae to multicellular large seaweeds. Clearly, they are not molds by nature.

 

I am not aware that to how much extent you treat your water before bottling but even you do maximum, the chances are still highly likely to find microbiological entities. As they naturally present in the water and (supposedly) you are not sterilizing the water, there are good chances to proliferate when condition become favorable.

If you are confident about your treatment methods, other possible sources/windows of contamination can be investigated. Inspect your machines, pipes, valves, nozzles,operators, working area, empty bottles and other possible input scenarios.

 

What about exposure to sunlight? are your customer keeping it in sunlight for prolonged time? This will probably trigger proliferation of algae when they present in such a nutrient rich medium like minerals. 

 

How about your TDS control? Have a cross check..

 

Wish you all the best



The Food Scientist

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 12:53 PM

Now I do know that Algae require light/sunlight to grow hence them being photosynthetic. so you might wanna look into how they are stored. Also since mineral water has many minerals then its a perfect environment for it to grow. Higher TDS, the higher chance you will have algae. Can you perhaps share with us a brief description of your process? Do you use Ozone? In the U.S we dont sterilize natural water, but some do use Ozone. 


Everything in food is science. The only subjective part is when you eat it. - Alton Brown.


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HabibBF

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 01:08 PM

Now I do know that Algae require light/sunlight to grow hence them being photosynthetic. so you might wanna look into how they are stored. Also since mineral water has many minerals then its a perfect environment for it to grow. Higher TDS, the higher chance you will have algae. Can you perhaps share with us a brief description of your process? Do you use Ozone? In the U.S we dont sterilize natural water, but some do use Ozone. 

Hi,

 

It is a simple process. If we proceed with a HACCP assessment focusing on the danger " algae" , I can say that we have 2 control measures. One is the microfiltration of the water using filters with 0.2 µm of porosity and yes we do use Ozone. However this last one is an ancient equipment and its monitoring is quite annoying.



EagleEye

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Posted 12 March 2019 - 05:27 PM


BTW, how did it identify as algae? By physical appearance?
Air-borne spores are one way to transmit and its possibility can also be investigated. Do you have an environmental monitoring program in place?

Soon after you ensure the efficiency of your CCPs by a re-validation and subsequent verification, if find alright, check all associated aspects that could cause a cross contamination. Filling nozzles and empty PET bottles could also accommodate spores.

Initiate a 4M&E problem solving program and focus on every detail..

Best of luck

Sent from my SM-N9500 using Tapatalk


Fishlady

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Posted 17 March 2019 - 09:08 PM

Algae live in water. Have you checked your water source to see if the same algae are present there? It sounds like a filtration issue.







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