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Environmental Monitoring

Swabs Salmonella APC TEC Listeria ranges mold yeast

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#1 Carmargab7

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Posted 14 May 2020 - 12:35 PM

I am looking for some advice on environmental monitoring. We manufacture pet treats/supplements.  We have a cold extruded room, so no heat and no water is used.  Every product is mirco tested before being sent out.  We used to swab zone 1-4 for Salmonella, E-coli, and Listeria.  We have switched to doing APC, TEC, Mold, and Yeast for Zone 1.  We have been swabbing some of the same stuff to try and get a range down and determine what is to high of a count.  When we swab it is during production so raw material is very likely to be on the swab when tested.   We were worried about testing zone 1 and it coming back positive with something so we decided to switch to indicators. We swab monthly.  We also have ATP swabs but have not used them yet because the categories of what surface we are testing needs to be inputting and have the right RLU. 

 

  • Should I just be swabbing after equipment is clean and not during production?
  • Are there better indicators?
  • Should we switch back to just Salmonella, Listeria, E-coli?  
  • Are there any ranges for APC?


#2 itreatpets

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Posted 14 May 2020 - 04:50 PM

I cant answer all of your questions but what I do know is...ATP pass/fail RLU limits will vary depending on the surface and product. I found it took some time to find OUR RLU limits for the facility and even within departments I have different limits.

 

We use ATP and it took me about 3 months to determine baselines of pass/fail. I took one ATP swab during production for each piece of equipment we have including floors, walls, and ceilings. This was my starting point for fails. Then after cleaning but before sanitizing each night I would swab and record the results, this went on for about a month. Then I checked our cleaning process and chemical levels to ensure it was properly done, we made a few changes. Then I continued with my swabbing for a month until we found the lowest number ATP and we made this our PASS limit and goal for cleaning. Lastly I spent another month swabbing to ensure we were meeting those goals without issues, Now we only have to swab few random items each night to verify the cleaning it being done right.



#3 FurFarmandFork

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Posted 14 May 2020 - 06:43 PM

hen we swab it is during production so raw material is very likely to be on the swab when tested

 

If you swab a dirty surface, the swab will likely say that it was dirty.

 

The point of monitoring your environment with micro is to have each swab you take be part of an ongoing "experiment".

In zone 1 areas, you know the surface is dirty after you run product. Your experiment is to verify whether your sanitation activities are effective at removing that material. Hence swabbing clean surfaces and testing for something that shouldn't be there after you clean. (e.g. if you dry clean only then APC makes less sense than EB). Your experiment is to determine if your sanitation procedures/training/chemicals are effective.

 

In zones 2-4, you're seeing if your current sanitation intervals/procedures/chemicals/etc. are effective at preventing pathogenic biofilms from taking hold in your facility. Hence why you do pathogen testing in those areas because it's not a problem to have high APC counts on the floor. That's just kinda the world. It is a problem if your floor or table legs have Listeria biofilms that can then be transferred to your contact surfaces by workers or tools while running.


Austin Bouck
Owner/Consultant at Fur, Farm, and Fork.
Consulting for companies needing effective, lean food safety systems and solutions.

Subscribe to the blog at furfarmandfork.com for food safety research, insights, and analysis.

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#4 Charles.C

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Posted 14 May 2020 - 08:10 PM

 

I am looking for some advice on environmental monitoring. We manufacture pet treats/supplements.  We have a cold extruded room, so no heat and no water is used.  Every product is mirco tested before being sent out.  We used to swab zone 1-4 for Salmonella, E-coli, and Listeria.  We have switched to doing APC, TEC, Mold, and Yeast for Zone 1.  We have been swabbing some of the same stuff to try and get a range down and determine what is to high of a count.  When we swab it is during production so raw material is very likely to be on the swab when tested.   We were worried about testing zone 1 and it coming back positive with something so we decided to switch to indicators. We swab monthly.  We also have ATP swabs but have not used them yet because the categories of what surface we are testing needs to be inputting and have the right RLU. 

 

  • Should I just be swabbing after equipment is clean and not during production?  Typically former.
  • Are there better indicators? Enterobacteriaceae is often used.
  • Should we switch back to just Salmonella, Listeria, E-coli?  So what does yr auditor require ? (Standard unknown)
  • Are there any ranges for APC? See this link -
  • https://www.ifsqn.co...ces/#entry60958

 

 

I assume yr product is RTE.

 

TBH, avoidance of pathogen testing in zone 1 is really a fudge albeit often recommended.

 

For ATP it is ideally preferable to determine a baseline standard unless the manufacturer's recommended pass/fail suggestions work for you.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C






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