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APC Thresholds


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#1 Sdurbanfarmer

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Posted 24 January 2020 - 09:10 PM

Hi All,

 

I know this is THE question on this forum. I am having a hard time wrapping my head around some of this stuff because it is still new to me, however I did register for a class that is not until March so I can better understand this, until then I am at a loss. I have attached the SOP the company uses for their microbial swabbing. The area in question is target specification 

Specification (<cfu/cm2) Target 2.0>cfu per sq cm

 

In their last inspection they were asked to describe what this means, and really I dont know how to read this, haha. I hope to learn and I have been reading as much as I can to understand but the comments left by the auditor were 

 

"There is a written " Microbiological Testing Program SOP#30". It uses a zonal approach for coolers, production packing areas and equipment. The program thresholds are not clearly defined, they are states as APC target 2.0 > CFU/ cm2, acceptable limits could not be explained by auditee."

 

I understand the SOP does not list acceptable limits, I have looked through some various resources that Charles has linked but I cant really find any acceptable limits for the product , which is citrus (oranges, grapefruit, lemons, etc).

 

In short, how do I read the target specification, and how do I se t the thresholds when I am not even sure what I am looking for? 

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#2 Hank Major

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Posted 24 January 2020 - 09:38 PM

They're saying that they want less than 2 colony forming units per square centimeter of surface swabbed.



#3 Sdurbanfarmer

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Posted 24 January 2020 - 09:42 PM

They're saying that they want less than 2 colony forming units per square centimeter of surface swabbed.

 

Thanks Hank, thats a mouthful! But as simple as that is I kept going cross eyed when I looked at it. I think what I need to do now is look at the past test results they have from the lab and make sure the scales are equal. During the inspection they mentioned that the scale in the SOP and the scale the test results came back in were not congruent so how would you tell if you were within the target specification.



#4 Hank Major

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Posted 24 January 2020 - 10:13 PM

Well, the instructions that come with the swabs say to swab a specific sized area a specific way. You need to work out how many square centimeters that is, then divide the lab results (the cfus) by the number of square centimeters swabbed by the swab to get a cfu per square cm number.



#5 Sdurbanfarmer

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Posted 24 January 2020 - 10:43 PM

Well, the instructions that come with the swabs say to swab a specific sized area a specific way. You need to work out how many square centimeters that is, then divide the lab results (the cfus) by the number of square centimeters swabbed by the swab to get a cfu per square cm number.

 

Thanks again Hank! I need to have a look at those as well. I sort of got plopped into this situation so I am slowly putting it all together, your help is definitely appreciated!



#6 Charles.C

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Posted 25 January 2020 - 03:17 AM

Hi Sdurbx,

 

You seem to have missed the pinned post/thread (which should hopefully answer a lot of yr questions) linked below and various other Procedural explanative threads on this Forum.

 

Based on your quoted spec, I suspect the originator of yr SOP had some, but  limited,  knowledge of this topic which is not unusual since a lot of the available Literature data/discussions are in obscure places.

 

https://www.ifsqn.co...ces/#entry60958

 

PS - it is worth noting that quantitative microbiological  food data (and especially APC)  is notoriously inaccurate and swabbing data (predictably?) often even worse. Hence the limited value of the "absolute" spec. in yr SOP when compared to the Literature.

 

PPS - Yr SOP is the first one I have ever seen which omits to mention how many samples to take (hopefully not "1") ! Amazing !


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#7 Sdurbanfarmer

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Posted 25 January 2020 - 04:57 AM

Hi Sdurbx,

 

You seem to have missed the pinned post/thread (which should hopefully answer a lot of yr questions) linked below and various other Procedural explanative threads on this Forum.

 

Based on your quoted spec, I suspect the originator of yr SOP had some, but  limited,  knowledge of this topic which is not unusual since a lot of the available Literature data/discussions are in obscure places.

 

https://www.ifsqn.co...ces/#entry60958

 

PS - it is worth noting that quantitative microbiological  food data (and especially APC)  is notoriously inaccurate and swabbing data (predictably?) often even worse. Hence the limited value of the "absolute" spec. in yr SOP when compared to the Literature.

 

PPS - Yr SOP is the first one I have ever seen which omits to mention how many samples to take (hopefully not "1") ! Amazing !

 

 

Haha thanks Charles, I was going through a different set of information you had posted on another post, this was helpful. However more helpful was the list of information you provided here https://www.ifsqn.co...resh-cut-fruit/. I think these were the basic primers I need to start wrapping my head around this.

 

Agreed on the SOP, my best guess is that what actually happened was that whatever the lab recommendation was in terms of sampling. But

I won't be back at that office until next week to review past results and get a better handle on what was happening . My other guess is that this SOP is the copy of another companies.






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