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Sanitation and Testing in an SQF certified bean/pea/lentil manufacturing plant


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#1 dsnyder9785

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Posted 26 March 2020 - 11:19 PM

So, we are an SQF certified bean/pea/lentil manufacturing plant in California that handles sorting, washing, destoning, conditioning, cooking, drying, blending and packaging. As far as sanitation goes, everyone here seems to have their own idea as to what is required.

 

Here is some background info:

1) Most of our products are very similar as far as ingredients

2) Dry cleaning is most commonly used on our processing equipment

 

Mainly the questions I am looking to answer are:

 

1) Can we leave product in a hopper over night (up to 24 hours) to be continued the next day if it is covered?

2) Can it still be considered the same production lot when continuing the following day?

3) How long can we wait to test a piece of equipment after sanitation?

4) If we test a piece of equipment after sanitation, how long is it deemed "clean and ready to use" before we have to test again?

5) Is cleaning required in between like products on the same equipment? (i.e. mixing pinto beans + oil, then mixing black beans + oil, then mixing pinto beans + oil + spice, then mixing pinto beans + oil + spice + second spice)

 

For some reason I keep thinking of a 4 hour rule I had read somewhere, but I cannot seem to recall where I had heard of it. Any suggestions or opinions would be greatly appreciated!

 



#2 Charles.C

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Posted 27 March 2020 - 07:40 AM

So, we are an SQF certified bean/pea/lentil manufacturing plant in California that handles sorting, washing, destoning, conditioning, cooking, drying, blending and packaging. As far as sanitation goes, everyone here seems to have their own idea as to what is required.

 

Here is some background info:

1) Most of our products are very similar as far as ingredients

2) Dry cleaning is most commonly used on our processing equipment

 

Mainly the questions I am looking to answer are:

 

1) Can we leave product in a hopper over night (up to 24 hours) to be continued the next day if it is covered?

After cooking ??

2) Can it still be considered the same production lot when continuing the following day?

Relates to yr (or yr customer's ?) choice of definition of a Production Lot.

3) How long can we wait to test a piece of equipment after sanitation?

How do you clean/sanitize (C/S) surfaces ? using ATP to evaluate ?

4) If we test a piece of equipment after sanitation, how long is it deemed "clean and ready to use" before we have to test again?

Assuming you C/S at night, normally do Pre-Op ATP testing next day.

5) Is cleaning required in between like products on the same equipment? (i.e. mixing pinto beans + oil, then mixing black beans + oil, then mixing pinto beans + oil + spice, then mixing pinto beans + oil + spice + second spice)

Assuming inadvertent mixing is a defect, seems  more a choice of relative amount of C/S.  Allergen issues ?

 

For some reason I keep thinking of a 4 hour rule I had read somewhere, but I cannot seem to recall where I had heard of it. Any suggestions or opinions would be greatly appreciated!

Thinking of 2hr/4hr rule which can be readily googled ?


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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#3 dsnyder9785

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Posted 27 March 2020 - 05:25 PM

Hey Charles, Thank you for responding! Here are my follow-up comments:

1) Yes, after cooking. There is no addition kill step, although there is a magnet at the bottom of the hopper, and this is the last step as it goes out of the hopper into a lined tote and then wrapped/labeled.

2) I made our program so the lot stays the same even if running over several days, just making sure it was up to us how we define the lot.

3) We clean with lint free disposable rags and a 200ppm bleach dilution in our dry clean situations, and use ATP to test within an hour after cleaning

4)Usually testing is immediately after, but sometimes the equipment wont be used until several days AFTER cleaning/testing, and they argue there is no need to test 3 days later after deeming the equipment cleaned and sanitized

5)Our allergen program says we do a full clean after allergens so generally we schedule them last and its not an issue and if we do have to run an allergen there is a full clean and allergen test after. Its just a defect if a small amount of inadvertent product mixing occurs otherwise.

 

2hr/4hr rule, googling this shows a 4 hour rule for food sitting out but that isn't what I am referring to when I mention a 4 hour rule. I was thinking there was a rule of thumb or general recommendation to use a piece of equipment within 4 hours of testing after cleaning, meaning if production C/S a piece of equipment, and I test it using ATP, they have 4 hours to use the equipment before I would have to re-test it to ensure it is still clean. This would make sense especially in our situation where we have a lot of bean dust in the air at times. 

 

Thank you again for your response!



#4 Charles.C

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Posted 27 March 2020 - 06:57 PM

Hey Charles, Thank you for responding! Here are my follow-up comments:

1) Yes, after cooking. There is no addition kill step, although there is a magnet at the bottom of the hopper, and this is the last step as it goes out of the hopper into a lined tote and then wrapped/labeled.

2) I made our program so the lot stays the same even if running over several days, just making sure it was up to us how we define the lot.

3) We clean with lint free disposable rags and a 200ppm bleach dilution in our dry clean situations, and use ATP to test within an hour after cleaning

4)Usually testing is immediately after, but sometimes the equipment wont be used until several days AFTER cleaning/testing, and they argue there is no need to test 3 days later after deeming the equipment cleaned and sanitized

5)Our allergen program says we do a full clean after allergens so generally we schedule them last and its not an issue and if we do have to run an allergen there is a full clean and allergen test after. Its just a defect if a small amount of inadvertent product mixing occurs otherwise.

 

2hr/4hr rule, googling this shows a 4 hour rule for food sitting out but that isn't what I am referring to when I mention a 4 hour rule. I was thinking there was a rule of thumb or general recommendation to use a piece of equipment within 4 hours of testing after cleaning, meaning if production C/S a piece of equipment, and I test it using ATP, they have 4 hours to use the equipment before I would have to re-test it to ensure it is still clean. This would make sense especially in our situation where we have a lot of bean dust in the air at times. 

 

Thank you again for your response!

 

Hi dsnyder,

 

Thks details.

Some comments over (1, 4, 5).

 

(1) Must admit I have no experience yr product. IMEX of cooked seafood, leaving cooked overnight usually not possible - causes problems particularly with respect to micro.specifications. How about yr product ?

 

(4) Yes, this is a popular moan. Best ignored IMEX.

 

(5) As I understand you do no cleaning between the products mentioned in OP. IMEX this is atypical.

 

I get the impression you don't do any morning Pre-Op surface testing such as ATP ?. Based on Posts here, this would be unusual.

 

Re - 4-hour rule - I googled << cleaning equipment 4-hour rule >> which yielded various offers.

 

yr version might  be a modification of, eg -

Food-contact surfaces and equipment used for potentially hazardous foods should be cleaned as needed throughout the day but must be cleaned no less than every 4 hours to prevent the growth of microorganisms on those surfaces.

 

Microorganisms may be transmitted from a food to other foods by utensils, cutting boards, thermometers, or
other food-contact surfaces. Food-contact surfaces and equipment used for potentially hazardous foods should
be cleaned as needed throughout the day but must be cleaned no less than every 4 hours to prevent the growth
of microorganisms on those surfaces.  Refrigeration temperatures slow down the generation time of bacterial
pathogens, making it unnecessary to clean every four hours.  Surfaces of utensils and equipment contacting food
that is not potentially hazardous such as iced tea dispensers, carbonated beverage dispenser nozzles, beverage
dispensing circuits or lines, water vending equipment, coffee bean grinders, ice makers, and ice bins must be
cleaned on a routine basis to prevent the development of slime, mold, or soil residues that may contribute to an
accumulation of microorganisms.

 

Attached File  oregon food code - cleaning food contact surfaces.pdf   143.91KB   2 downloads

 

I think above is an American invention. I haven't checked but may derive from the FDA Food Code.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#5 dsnyder9785

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Posted 27 March 2020 - 10:12 PM

I should have clarified in the OP that our product is shelf stable with a moisture content below 6% (cooked/dehydrated beans/legumes), so the growth of microbials throughout the day on processing equipment is much less likely.

 

We run 24 hrs a day, about 4 days a week. Typically sanitation is done Monday morning, pre-op using ATP swabs is done Monday night, startup follows immediately Monday night and runs until about Friday morning/mid day, then equipment is torn down to prep for cleaning Monday.

 

Occasionally we C/S and test mid-week but its a case by case basis depending on rush orders (e.g. sometimes we end up having to run an allergen mid-week)

 

As far as cleaning in between products, normally we schedule the best we can to go from less to more ingredients so that there is less risk of cross contaminating products, but we do a "dry clean" using compressed air to blow down equipment, but I hate calling that dry cleaning. My personal standards are much more strict for sanitation, but I am trying to meet the company in the middle while still ensuring a safe and quality product.


Edited by dsnyder9785, 27 March 2020 - 10:14 PM.


#6 Charles.C

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Posted 28 March 2020 - 12:04 PM

I should have clarified in the OP that our product is shelf stable with a moisture content below 6% (cooked/dehydrated beans/legumes), so the growth of microbials throughout the day on processing equipment is much less likely.

 

We run 24 hrs a day, about 4 days a week. Typically sanitation is done Monday morning, pre-op using ATP swabs is done Monday night, startup follows immediately Monday night and runs until about Friday morning/mid day, then equipment is torn down to prep for cleaning Monday.

 

Occasionally we C/S and test mid-week but its a case by case basis depending on rush orders (e.g. sometimes we end up having to run an allergen mid-week)

 

As far as cleaning in between products, normally we schedule the best we can to go from less to more ingredients so that there is less risk of cross contaminating products, but we do a "dry clean" using compressed air to blow down equipment, but I hate calling that dry cleaning. My personal standards are much more strict for sanitation, but I am trying to meet the company in the middle while still ensuring a safe and quality product.

 

Hi dsnyder,

 

Thks for clarifications.

 

I equally omitted to ask if the finished product is RTE ?. This is a rather different ball-game of course.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#7 dsnyder9785

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Posted 30 March 2020 - 04:29 PM

For the most part our customers use the product as a processing ingredient in their own product, but we do have one customer that doesnt do anything else to it and for them it is technically ready to eat, as the preparation instructions say "add hot water and stir".



#8 Charles.C

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Posted 30 March 2020 - 05:11 PM

For the most part our customers use the product as a processing ingredient in their own product, but we do have one customer that doesnt do anything else to it and for them it is technically ready to eat, as the preparation instructions say "add hot water and stir".

 

Hi dsnyder,

 

thks above.

 

I assume this means that you categorise  your product as RTE with all the typical segregation systems between the post and pre-cooking stages ?

 

And presumably are required to comply with SQF's high Risk expectations ?

 

(Or perhaps the cooking step is interpreted in a different way for this product ?)

 

PS - I also noticed these earlier threads which seem to suggest the cooking step removes pathogens -

 

https://www.ifsqn.co...rds/#entry88886

https://www.ifsqn.co...ns/#entry140552


Edited by Charles.C, 30 March 2020 - 05:41 PM.
added

Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C





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