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#1 asamples

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Posted 06 May 2019 - 04:37 PM

Could use some help on this topic. Our company is SQF Food Safety and Quality and we are food packaging (plastic film, shrink, and also spice casing)

Our recent auditor told us we really need to beef up our Environmental Monitoring Program. We currently swab ATP weekly and swab our drains weekly for listeria through a third party lab. 

I'd like to start swabbing food contact/non-food contact surfaces using the EZ sponges that we use for listeria.

 

My question is how often should these zones be tested? We will still swab our machines with the ATP swabs weekly but is it necessary to test drains for listeria weekly as well? Could someone show an example of their program? My previous company used to send 3 food contact surfaces, 3 non food contact surfaces, and 2 drains done quarterly.

 

Any insight would help. Thanks!



#2 The Food Scientist

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Posted 06 May 2019 - 04:39 PM

It depends on your risk assessment, facility, and all those stuff. But in my opinion an ideal EMP swabbing frequency would be quarterly. Keeping your ATP swabs weekly as they are. 


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


#3 wjmccann3

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Posted 10 May 2019 - 07:09 PM

When I completed my risk assessment, I continued to break it down by my facility section or most would say "zones", Zones that had higher traffic, would be monthly, Zones with less traffic would be quarterly. Once I had enough data points, I had the justification to take the high traffic zones that I had completed monthly to now become quarterly. I believe it is about where the data takes you and to show your justification 



#4 zanorias

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Posted 10 May 2019 - 09:01 PM

As per above two posts it can be guided by your risk assessment, which itself will depend on the product and process. Start with a higher frequency and as you gain data you can re-assess and adjust if necessary. If you're going to increase environmental swabbing I don't think drains will need to be done weekly. I do my drains 3 swabs per month using in-house listeria swabs, though I use lab swabs for listeria on surfaces each week. When assessing check requirements for customers and schemes to maintain compliance there too.



#5 Ryan M.

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Posted 11 May 2019 - 02:55 AM

Be careful with swabbing Zone 1 or food contact surfaces for listeria.  What is your protocol if you end up with a positive on a Zone 1 swab?  Do you hold your products made on that equipment that is swabbed until it clears?  You should.  You should hold all products from the last sanitation which for a packaging manufacturer....could be weekly?

 

I've never swabbed Zone 1 for pathogens....always and only indicator microorganisms.  Zone 2 thru 4 for pathogens.



#6 Charles.C

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Posted 11 May 2019 - 11:56 AM

Could use some help on this topic. Our company is SQF Food Safety and Quality and we are food packaging (plastic film, shrink, and also spice casing)

Our recent auditor told us we really need to beef up our Environmental Monitoring Program. We currently swab ATP weekly and swab our drains weekly for listeria through a third party lab. 

I'd like to start swabbing food contact/non-food contact surfaces using the EZ sponges that we use for listeria.

 

My question is how often should these zones be tested? We will still swab our machines with the ATP swabs weekly but is it necessary to test drains for listeria weekly as well? Could someone show an example of their program? My previous company used to send 3 food contact surfaces, 3 non food contact surfaces, and 2 drains done quarterly.

 

Any insight would help. Thanks!

 

afaik ATP is usually regarded as verification of cleaning program, not typically part of EMP although obviously related.

 

I thought it was more typical for Packaging to monitor APC/Y&M ?


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#7 asamples

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 01:51 PM

I'm afraid we do not have a risk assessment made for our environmental monitoring program, or clearly identified "zones". Yikes. This is what our SOP describes if a listeria swab comes up negative: "If a Listeria swab is reported positive, clean the area thoroughly and test the drain for three consecutive days (2 day test) until three negative consecutive results are obtained".

I'd like to change this to what was stated above, putting product on hold since previous sanitation (we wash down once a week, usually Fridays). 

 

We plan to continue swabbing for ATP weekly, and I'd like to move away from swabbing our drains for listeria each week to quarterly, and we have ordered more EZ swabs to swab for salmonella and E. Coli. Is there anything else I could be leaving out for environmental monitoring that should be included in this? We send our products out for yeast and mold and etc. 

 

And I mentioned my previous companys frequency: 3 food contact surfaces, 3 non food contact surfaces, and 2 drains done quarterly.

Would be be okay? If i were to mention in our program the zones.



#8 Charles.C

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Posted 06 June 2019 - 02:28 PM

I'm afraid we do not have a risk assessment made for our environmental monitoring program, or clearly identified "zones". Yikes. This is what our SOP describes if a listeria swab comes up negative: "If a Listeria swab is reported positive, clean the area thoroughly and test the drain for three consecutive days (2 day test) until three negative consecutive results are obtained".

I'd like to change this to what was stated above, putting product on hold since previous sanitation (we wash down once a week, usually Fridays). 

 

We plan to continue swabbing for ATP weekly, and I'd like to move away from swabbing our drains for listeria each week to quarterly, and we have ordered more EZ swabs to swab for salmonella and E. Coli. Is there anything else I could be leaving out for environmental monitoring that should be included in this? We send our products out for yeast and mold and etc. 

 

And I mentioned my previous companys frequency: 3 food contact surfaces, 3 non food contact surfaces, and 2 drains done quarterly.

Would be be okay? If i were to mention in our program the zones.

 

Hi asamples,

 

This is, afaik,  a currently SQF "contentious" topic (ie being argued over). Both for food and packaging. For a recent food thread, the relevant SQF auditor seemed to be rigidly quoting the "shall" aspect in SQF Code to justify demanding a EMP  regardless of the result of the risk assessment.

 

See this post and thread. There are several others both for food and packaging. (IIRC one for packaging was implementing a far less rigorous plan than yourself).

 

https://www.ifsqn.co...e-2#entry126586

 

Offhand I would opine that you are implementing a massive "overkill"  but this may relate to yr risk assessment, specific auditor and SQF's current opinions.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#9 Julie Y

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Posted 12 June 2019 - 10:51 PM

What we do is test for Salmonella and Listeria in zones 2 -4. This is done on a quarterly basis. We never swab zone 1 surfaces (direct contact). We are probably going to add E. Coli to our swabs as well.

 

In addition to swabbing, we also send finished goods from every machine once a year. We have 24 machines (lines) so we send samples taken directly from 2 lines once a month which covers the entire facility in one year. We test the packaging for APC, Y/M, and Coliform.

 

We are doing this backwards as we have not created a risk assessment for the monitoring program yet. We had a pre-assessment audit with our SQF auditor and he asked some questions that we could not answer. For instance, how did we come up with the types of pathogens to test for, how did we come up with our limits, etc. Which I think we would answer in our assessment when we develop it.






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