Hi IFSQN community,
We are tinkering with a new product line at our company but I had some concerns about microbiological ramifications. I am hoping someone on here can help me understand a couple of things. I have been doing research but can't seem to find direct answers to my questions. My company is a frozen pasta manufacturer (FSIS, FDA) and we are trying to MAP (CO2, N2) package cooked noodles to have a 22 day shelf life. The noodles are cooked to lethality and then frozen on trays before packaging. Getting below 40 F takes about an hour. The idea is to sell to our customer frozen, slack out, and have 22 days thereafter under refrigerated conditions. Because of the cooking pathogens are not a real concern. My real concern is spore formers. My research has shown me that some species of botulinum can grow and germinate at less than 36 F, 3 C, degrees and that pre-cooked pasta can be of particular concern for spore formers. I am wondering if any of you have any data or experience to show how long these spores will stay at an acceptable level under normal refrigeration temperature.
I am working with my lab to try and get some testing done but they needed to order special tests for spore formers. When I got to thinking about it, I can't recall ever seeing a spec sheet that includes spore formers. If these organisms can't be inactivated by normal cooking, can germinate above 36 degrees, and can produce fatal toxin why does nobody test for them? Lots of questions which are suddenly sending my microbiological brain through loops. If anyone has any information I would appreciate it.