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Standard for TPC and Coliform on non-food contact surfaces


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#1 Mereseini

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Posted 14 December 2020 - 04:14 AM

Hi, can anyone share with me the standard for TPC & coliform on non-food contact surfaces  (floors, ceilings, drains, etc.) if any? I would also like to know if there is a general standard for BOD in effluents? Thanks

 

 

 



#2 Charles.C

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Posted 14 December 2020 - 05:15 AM

Hi,

 

(a) Can anyone share with me the standard for TPC & coliform on non-food contact surfaces  (floors, ceilings, drains, etc.) if any?

 

 

(b) I would also like to know if there is a general standard for BOD in effluents?

 

 

Thanks

 

Hi Mereseini,

 

It may depend on yr local Regs and specific product/process.

 

But typically IMEX for a wet, non-RTE production area -

 

(a) No standards exist for locations mentioned. ( For wet RTE, post thermal areas, IIRC, USA particularly focus on Listeria occurrences in the environment).

 

(b) No idea sorry. Offhand I would anticipate it varies with locality.

 

PS - Nice to hear from the Solomon Islands, first time afai can remember. :thumbup:


Edited by Charles.C, 14 December 2020 - 12:19 PM.
edited

Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#3 Mereseini

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Posted 15 December 2020 - 12:14 AM

Hi Charles,

 

Thanks for your assistance. I am working on creating our EMP to meet BRC requirement and I have included these non-food contact surfaces (floors, walls, drains, ceilings etc) into the program for swabbing once a year based on risk assessment.  Would appreciate any suggestions on how to make up a good but practical EMP for our facility, and include the limits for TPC, listeria and coliform which I have been finding a hard time to get. If there are samples of EMP that I can look at to get a better idea would be really helpful.

 

Yes, I work in the only Tuna processing company in Solomon Islands. Our facility produces mainly canned tuna and frozen precooked tuna loins.

 

Thanks,

Mary



#4 Charles.C

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Posted 15 December 2020 - 04:16 AM

Hi Charles,

 

Thanks for your assistance. I am working on creating our EMP to meet BRC requirement and I have included these non-food contact surfaces (floors, walls, drains, ceilings etc) into the program for swabbing once a year based on risk assessment.  Would appreciate any suggestions on how to make up a good but practical EMP for our facility, and include the limits for TPC, listeria and coliform which I have been finding a hard time to get. If there are samples of EMP that I can look at to get a better idea would be really helpful.

 

Yes, I work in the only Tuna processing company in Solomon Islands. Our facility produces mainly canned tuna and frozen precooked tuna loins.

 

Thanks,

Mary

 

Hi Mary,

 

I assume this is clause 4.11.8

 

afaik BRC will regard this product as Low Risk.

 

No direct experience with BRC/canned foods however  there are a few threads on this Forum for BRC/Low Risk (not canned) items, eg

 

https://www.ifsqn.co...lp/#entry144045

 

With respect to limits for APC, Coliforms etc, can see this compilation -

 

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

 

Various EMPG examples here -

 

http://www.ifsqn.com...ls/#entry100060

http://www.ifsqn.com...am/#entry119334


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#5 Fishlady

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Posted 20 December 2020 - 07:09 PM

Canning operations are generally considered low risk in this regard, because the thermal process is designed to achieve commercial sterility of the final product. However, it is a good idea to have an environmental program to show the effectiveness of your sanitation program.

I have had the privilege of visiting your country and would love to go back if you need some more personalized help! :)



#6 Dali

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Posted 21 December 2020 - 12:03 AM

Hi Merseini,

 

Here is a useful reference that may help:

 

https://www.foodauth...al_swabbing.pdf

 

Also, I would swab for TPC/APC and Enterobacteriaceae rather than coliforms. 



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#7 Charles.C

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Posted 21 December 2020 - 04:51 AM

Hi Merseini,

 

Here is a useful reference that may help:

 

https://www.foodauth...al_swabbing.pdf

 

Also, I would swab for TPC/APC and Enterobacteriaceae rather than coliforms. 

 

Hi Dali,

 

Thks for the useful (2013) document but do note that most of the quoted data is quite old/out-of-date, eg the EU limits mentioned on Page 7 were removed many years ago.

 

Difficulties in establishing  micro. control limits for food contact surfaces are discussed in the compilation post linked in Post 4. This link is also ageing (2012) but I have not seen any subsequent global surveys of this topic.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#8 Dali

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Posted 21 December 2020 - 08:59 PM

Hi Dali,

 

Thks for the useful (2013) document but do note that most of the quoted data is quite old/out-of-date, eg the EU limits mentioned on Page 7 were removed many years ago.

 

Difficulties in establishing  micro. control limits for food contact surfaces are discussed in the compilation post linked in Post 4. This link is also ageing (2012) but I have not seen any subsequent global surveys of this topic.

 

Hi Charles,

 

I actually started with the forum and the sheet you compiled from that. Unfortunately I couldn't find the Australian paper/standard referenced (Mildura EHS, 2002). It has actually been a source of frustration that such standards are not well established and require experimental validation (it's as if every company has infinite resources to conduct in-house validation studies). 

 

The document I provided is from an Australian government source and would be quite useful in the Solomon Islands I would imagine (by way of geopolitical means) as a reference document. The information contained within could be reasonably referenced within food safety and quality documentation without reprisal from an auditor (they won't be experts in food microbiology and if they are, would be excellent sources of validation data!). 

 

As for the currency of the information, it really depends on whether new data has superseded the old data. It is still quite common practice in scientific literature to quote original reference papers in the introduction. I did however note that some of the ISO reference standards have been superseded. 

 

Here is another paper which may help, but may also add more confusion to the overall topic:

 

https://www.research...rature_Overview

 

Unfortunately, there may never be ironclad standards in the field. I have for example, successfully argued during an SQF audit that a APC value of 2200 cfu from a swab is acceptable.  



#9 Charles.C

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Posted 22 December 2020 - 08:14 PM

Hi Charles,

 

I actually started with the forum and the sheet you compiled from that. Unfortunately I couldn't find the Australian paper/standard referenced (Mildura EHS, 2002). It has actually been a source of frustration that such standards are not well established and require experimental validation (it's as if every company has infinite resources to conduct in-house validation studies). 

 

The document I provided is from an Australian government source and would be quite useful in the Solomon Islands I would imagine (by way of geopolitical means) as a reference document. The information contained within could be reasonably referenced within food safety and quality documentation without reprisal from an auditor (they won't be experts in food microbiology and if they are, would be excellent sources of validation data!). 

 

As for the currency of the information, it really depends on whether new data has superseded the old data. It is still quite common practice in scientific literature to quote original reference papers in the introduction. I did however note that some of the ISO reference standards have been superseded. 

 

Here is another paper which may help, but may also add more confusion to the overall topic:

 

https://www.research...rature_Overview

 

Unfortunately, there may never be ironclad standards in the field. I have for example, successfully argued during an SQF audit that a APC value of 2200 cfu from a swab is acceptable.  

Hi Dali,

 

Yes, as per my (2012) compilation/Notes, and yr end-linked document (2018), a variety of micro. "Guidelines" were/are in Global use.

 

JFI, here is a "relatively" recent (updated) document detailing (2017) UK surface micro. Procedures.

 

Attached File  Detection_and_enumeration_of_bacteria_in_swabs_and_other_environmental_samples.pdf   522.01KB   13 downloads

 

afaik current UK surface  micro. Guidelines are still as per my 2012 Excel compilation, eg as used in this 2013 project - 

 

Attached File  Hygiene Practices in UK, 2013.pdf   1.19MB   11 downloads

 

The data's compliance with the Guidelines is clearly "mixed".


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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#10 Dali

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Posted 22 December 2020 - 09:28 PM

Hi Charles,

 

Thanks for sending those files. I have come across multiple documents detailing procedures and that is never an issue.

 

It's interesting that there are no authoritative sources within the food industry that clearly address this. For example, we have a Food Standards Code here in Australia which doesn't go into that level of detail, and supporting Compendia which don't address surface counts.

 

I'm not a microbiologist so I can't say what confounding variables there may be which make such criteria difficult to establish but there must be a reason why committing to surface counts is such an arduous activity for governmental regulators. 

 

Thanks again for replying and hopefully we'll have some progress in this space in the future.

 

Best regards,

 

Dali

 

 



#11 drquinn1964

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Posted 18 March 2021 - 08:04 PM

Dali,

 

IMHO as a former veterinarian and food safety auditor with USDA-FSIS, government officials that produce "Guidelines" abhor making any numerical limits for acceptability except when it comes to lethality and stabilization, because setting those limits means that is now policy.  Policy lives forever, that is why we have lethality and stabilization limits that are safe harbors in "guideline" documents because they were once upon a time regulatory policy.  Over the years multiple governmental agencies have lost a number of lawsuits because someone created another policy with a numerical limit to acceptability.  The governmental regulatory agencies only set policy based upon positive or negative results when it comes to pathogens, they stay away from numerically acceptable limits for acceptability with "indicator organisms" because they know if they do so it will be used against them.

 

Just my humble opinion...

 

Quinn H.



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#12 Dali

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Posted 18 March 2021 - 10:37 PM

Hi Quinn,

 

Thank you for the insight, I guess it really all comes down to a legal and therefore monetary view of food safety in the final analysis. The quantification of aerobic bacteria and other indicator organisms should provide a microscopic view of the level of hygiene required to validate cleaning procedures.  Perhaps I'm being idealistic in my pursuit of a scientifically derived "standard" for what a clean surface should be.

 

Thanks again,

 

Dali



#13 drquinn1964

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Posted 19 March 2021 - 02:39 AM

Dali,

 

I agree with your scientifically derived standard ideal.  My experience is solely with the US Government so I do not know how that applies elsewhere.  While doing research this evening looking for micro standards I came across the Compendium of Microbiological Criteria for Food September 2018 Food Standards of Australian and New Zealand.  I have attached it for your information.

 

Attached File  Compendium of Microbiological Criteria for Food September 2018 Food Standards of Australian and New Zealand.pdf   1.53MB   4 downloads



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#14 drquinn1964

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Posted 19 March 2021 - 02:39 AM

Dali,

 

I agree with your scientifically derived standard ideal.  My experience is solely with the US Government so I do not know how that applies elsewhere.  While doing research this evening looking for micro standards I came across the Compendium of Microbiological Criteria for Food September 2018 Food Standards of Australian and New Zealand.  I have attached it for your information.

 

Attached File  Compendium of Microbiological Criteria for Food September 2018 Food Standards of Australian and New Zealand.pdf   1.53MB   4 downloads



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