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#1 kenzml

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Posted 04 September 2019 - 06:40 PM

Hi Everyone!

 

I'm reaching out to all the micro experts out there for some advice. My background before food safety is toxicology so I have some basic understanding and exposure to microbiology testing. 

 

I would like to increase our biological/environmental monitoring at our facility and am looking for testing that can be completed without a micro lab. I am aware of ATP monitoring but wondered what else is available? 

 

 

Any and all resources are appreciated, especially research articles.

Thanks in Advance!



#2 zanorias

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Posted 04 September 2019 - 07:25 PM

Hello,

You can get some basic swabs that can be tested and read on site. For example I use Hygiena InSite Listeria swabs - they are a snap swab that require only a mini incubator (mine holds 11 swabs and sits on my desk), a negative result can be observed after 48 hours, or positive before then by visual colour change. I believe there are similar swabs available for other bacteria. Of course, with the practicality comes limitations in terms of species and enumeration.

Something to bear in mind if you did do something like this is any scheme/customer/regulatory requirements that affect it. I.e. BRC are ok with it but only if it is in a separate location from production. And of course make sure you operate it hygienically and have a procedure in place.

I wouldn't recommend these basic swabs as part of an EMP as the results data is limited, but they are useful for investigations and unofficial monitoring.

ATP is generally considered a method of cleanliness verification rather than environmental monitoring.


Edited by zanorias, 04 September 2019 - 07:38 PM.


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#3 The Food Scientist

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Posted 04 September 2019 - 07:28 PM

ATP testing doesn't equal environmental monitoring. You can maybe use detection kits for Salmonella, Listeria and E.coli. However it wont give counts, which I believe can't be done without a lab or any area designated for micro testing. Because you need to be "monitoring" those counts, hence the name "Environmental Monitoring". 


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


#4 Charles.C

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Posted 04 September 2019 - 11:44 PM

Hi Everyone!

 

I'm reaching out to all the micro experts out there for some advice. My background before food safety is toxicology so I have some basic understanding and exposure to microbiology testing. 

 

I would like to increase our biological/environmental monitoring at our facility and am looking for [SAFE] testing that can be completed without a micro lab. I am aware of ATP monitoring but wondered what else is available? 

 

 

Any and all resources are appreciated, especially research articles.

Thanks in Advance!

 

Hi kenzml,

 

I suggest yr OP should have included the word "safe", eg as above.

 

I deduce that you still wish to microbiologically monitor, eg obtain results for items such as APC, Moulds, Pathogens ? Qualitative / Quantitative ?

 

Did you mean without an in-house micro lab or no labs at all ? (Some people use internal sampling + external lab).

 

This is one suggested solution for "safe"  EMP monitoring -.

 

In-house testing: In-house laboratories may provide convenience, time and cost savings. However, if
samples need to be enriched that would result in the proliferation of Listeria spp. or monocytogenes, in-
house testing should be avoided. Most tests require some level of enrichment, which may inadvertently
become a source of contamination of the production area. In these cases, unless the laboratory has
extraordinary controls to prevent such opportunities for contamination, or no other options are available, it
is usually not worth the risk. Test kits are now available that do not require sample enrichment. These
methods are much more suitable to in-house testing
. Companies will want to be aware of the false
positive and false negative rates, as well as the limit of detection, associated with more rapid test kits

Attached File  Listeria EMP for Fresh Produce Industry.pdf   1.83MB   19 downloads

 

Caveats such as above may be usefully (negatively?) applied  to these examples of  commercially available kits -

 

Attached File  EMP monitoring for restaurants.pdf   1.02MB   24 downloads

.

http://www.biosan.co...ory-services#15

(I did note that the identification of specific microorganisms is not recommended)

 

ATP data for foods has occasionally been usable to predict APC values via Calibration graphs but such correlations are typically not validatable. I don't recall seeing any similar applications for EMP.

 

Potential safety aspects of routinely using internal micro. kits without any lab have been previously discussed/debated on this forum.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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#5 Aliali

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 08:07 AM

Another useful resources are your suppliers who supply you the micro test kits and consumables. They should have knowledge and skills to support your development. 



#6 GMO

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 10:55 AM

Two things I'd say.  One be careful about any certification schemes you're part of, even a mini incubator for Listeria is still pathogen testing on site which for BRC requires all kind of controls and presumably other GFSI are similar.  Secondly, I come back to this time and time again, visual inspection with a torch is blooming effective.  A swab rarely tells you something massively different than good inspection would.  What swabs are useful for is pointing you in the right direction to do more inspection.  The risk with these is they are likely to be less sensitive than off site testing but could give you a false sense of security.

 

Presumably this idea is to save cost?  One thing I would do though is go back to your lab and ask to review your prices, especially if you're thinking of sending them more business. 



#7 YNA QA

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 12:41 PM

We use the in-house method to test; using the Hygiena Snap Salmonella and Enterobacter species.  For any presumptive positive hits we swab and send to an outside lab for verification/validation of those presumptive positives.  

 

We just had an unannounced SQF audit, and the auditor said this method works as long as the swabs are disposed of properly and we follow standard protocol for presumptive positive results: vector swabbing.

 

We like it!



#8 Charles.C

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 05:52 PM

Just to reiterate the caveat in my previous Post 4, some approved products are now available which do not require a lengthy enrichment stage and thereby enable a significantly faster result. eg

 

https://www.foodsafe...novation-award/

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm...pubmed/30305206

 

Their use has has  been reported on in previous threads here.

 

Regardless, as per GMO, afaik one still needs an incubator and, ideally, an autoclave for disposal purposes. Half-way financially  to a micro. lab ??


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C






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