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Incubator and in-house labs

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 04:58 PM

Hi all-


We are low-medium risk packaging facility and also do spice transfer technology. We used to have an in-house lab for Listeria testing, but we closed the lab and now utilize an outside third party lab for testing.


We are trying to beef up our Environmental Monitoring Program right now. We currently swab for ATP with the Accupoint meters, and our SQF auditor recommended the Hygeina for allergens, ATP, and etc. 


I reached out to Hygeina and they told us the MicroSnap and some allergens swabs would be good for our facility, but the swabs require an incubator. I'm concerned if in our programs we will have to have a designated "lab" again, or if we re able to store the incubator in a room and this won't be an issue in our next audit?



Hope this makes sense. Thanks!


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Posted 05 April 2019 - 05:48 PM

Hi asamples,


I'm not so familiar with SQF, but BRC are happy with in-house testing as long as the incubation is separate from production and storage areas. Pathogen testing (including pathogens tested as part of the environmental testing) shall be subcontracted to an external laboratory, or where conducted internally, the laboratory facility shall be fully segregated from the production and storage areas and have operating procedures to prevent any risk of product contamination.


I use Hygiena InSite Listeria snap swabs for non-scheduled and follow-up swabbing. My mini incubator is kept in the office block which is a separate building to production and storage, and have made a procedure for swabbing, incubating and disposal to minimise risk. BRC are satisfied with this as are our retail customers, once explained that my pathogen cultivation is done hygienically and segregation etc etc, though from their initial looks before explanation I get the feeling they have a mental picture of some extensive listeria breeding farm operation I've got going on. I've also implemented a regular validation for InSite swabs v externally tested. I use Hygiena for ATP swabs too.

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 05:53 PM

Hi there,


I worked at a SQF company where I did not have a lab, but did all my ATP & Allergen in my own office. But for Environmental pathogens, I would swab and send them out to a lab. Because the facility was not properly designed to carry out those tests. Just like Zanorias mentioned. 

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

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