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pet treats APC TEC Indicators limits

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#1 Carmargab7

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Posted 15 February 2021 - 01:59 PM

Hello, I am hoping someone can give me some insight on indicators and how to determine our limits/ranges.

 

We have 4 different kinds of productions:

 

1. Dry Blending - all dry ingredients blended together into a super sack used for Hot Extruded treats 99% of the time.  Dry Cleanouts used.

 

2. Cold Extrusion - Dry Ingredients, oils, NO Water or heat used.  All products are tested for Salmonella before shipping.  Dry Cleanouts used between batches daily, total cleanout but still no water used once a week.

 

3. Hot Extrusion - steam and high heat used for production, cleanouts between orders,1x week wet clean.

 

4. Baked Goods - clean outs between orders, wet clean 1x week.

 

Then we have our Packaging room which is all dry cleaned.  Alpet D2 Quat Free Sanitizer used on all equipment after (in each department).

 

We have done APC, TEC, mold and Yeast testing.  In Cold Extrusion the numbers are extremely high ranging from hundred thousand - 1 million for APC. TEC is 100 - 1,000.  This is after their weekend clean.

 

During out SQF Audit the auditor said that those counts are extremely high, our consultant gave us ranges after our Internal audit for Finished Goods, Raw Good, and Floors.  Most of our swabs were past those limits though.

 

I am learning now that each facility is different and it depends on the product that is being run but we have  hundreds of different products/formulas in our facility.

 

How do I find out what our Ranges are?

 

Thank You



#2 Carmargab7

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Posted 15 February 2021 - 02:11 PM

Also, when I say Dry Clean: Vacuum, air hose, scrapping.  Wet clean: soap water, steamer. 

We use the 3M sponge swabs and swab a small area about 4" x 4"

 

APC is CFU/Swab using AOAC 990.12 Petrifilm

 

TEC (T. Enterobacteriaceae Count is CFU/swab using AOAC 2003.01 Petrifilm 

 

Mold and Yeast is CFU/Swab BAM 8th Ed.



#3 MDaleDDF

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Posted 15 February 2021 - 02:53 PM

That doesn't sound good.   What limits did your internal auditor give you? 

I don't know how you're dealing with this, but I work in a dry blending facility, and if our numbers were out of range in any area (Enviros, finished product, raw ingredient) it would be a major problem, and we wouldn't continue to run until they were brought under control.  Perhaps I'm not understanding you here....



#4 Charles.C

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Posted 15 February 2021 - 02:54 PM

Hi Carmargab,

 

I presume these are all RTE products.

 

I assume the swabbing was done immediately after cleaning/sanitising

 

I assume all the numbers are referenced to 4in x 4in

 

I assume incubation APC was 48hrs @ approx 36degC

 

So 1million CFU is actually 10^6 / 16in2 (or 103.2cm2) so count is 9700/cm2

 

What Ranges were suggested by Auditor ?

 

A (human) literature data compilation and some suggested limits are here -

 

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

 

Offhand, I partially agree yr auditor. APC count is very high. TEB seems less remarkable though. No data given Y&M ?

 

You omitted to mention what specific surfaces were involved. Were they visibly unclean ? Did you test with ATP (gives an instant idea of cleanliness)?

 

PS - overlapped previous post. :smile:


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#5 Carmargab7

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Posted 15 February 2021 - 04:23 PM

Finished Goods: TEC; < 100   APC; <1,000

Raw Material: TEC; <1,000    APC; <10,000

Floors: TEC; <10,000   APC; <100,000

 

Above are the limits we had.

 

The surfaces being swabbed are FC hard plastic conveyors, Steel mixers/equipment.

 

Charles you assumptions are correct.  

Looking at what you just did "So 1million CFU is actually 10^6 / 16in2 (or 103.2cm2) so count is 9700/cm2"  I haven't done that so perhaps my results haven't been as bad as I thought? 

 

Little background on me, I didn't have any back ground in quality or food safety other than waitressing for 6 years.  I was a quality associate who did almost everything for our SQF Practitioner/quality manager, he then left and I moved into his position without much training from him.  He originally had testing zone 1-4 for Salmonella, Listeria, E.Coli, we felt that it was not good to have actual pathogen testing on our Zone 1 so we switched to indicators and I have had a very hard time defining ranges and it has been a battle with sanitation. 

 

Our Auditor did not give us any ranges.

 

We also have not done ATP testing, we are going to start the testing process within the next month to determine our ranges which from what I have read this is the process;  Testing of the surfaces when they are dirty and clean with a swab that is sent to the lab, testing for Total Plate count and swabbed with our in house ATP and recording the range.  Something along those lines.



#6 Charles.C

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Posted 15 February 2021 - 04:46 PM

Finished Goods: TEC; < 100   APC; <1,000

Raw Material: TEC; <1,000    APC; <10,000

Floors: TEC; <10,000   APC; <100,000

 

Above are the limits we had.

 

The surfaces being swabbed are FC hard plastic conveyors, Steel mixers/equipment.

 

Charles you assumptions are correct.  

Looking at what you just did "So 1million CFU is actually 10^6 / 16in2 (or 103.2cm2) so count is 9700/cm2"  I haven't done that so perhaps my results haven't been as bad as I thought? 

 

Little background on me, I didn't have any back ground in quality or food safety other than waitressing for 6 years.  I was a quality associate who did almost everything for our SQF Practitioner/quality manager, he then left and I moved into his position without much training from him.  He originally had testing zone 1-4 for Salmonella, Listeria, E.Coli, we felt that it was not good to have actual pathogen testing on our Zone 1 so we switched to indicators and I have had a very hard time defining ranges and it has been a battle with sanitation. 

 

Our Auditor did not give us any ranges.

 

We also have not done ATP testing, we are going to start the testing process within the next month to determine our ranges which from what I have read this is the process;  Testing of the surfaces when they are dirty and clean with a swab that is sent to the lab, testing for Total Plate count and swabbed with our in house ATP and recording the range.  Something along those lines.

 

Hi Carmargab,

 

There is maybe a little confusion.

 

Finished Products and Raw material are not part of the EMPG.

Floor data is usually meaningless other than perhaps pathogen testing like L.mono.

 

As you mention, should be testing Food Contact/Non-Contact Surfaces such as Tables, Equipment, Air.

 

Where did yr APC value specifically come from ? ie what surface ? It is approx 100x the limit which I suggested in my Compilation post.

 

For ATP, you should initially determine a baseline which corresponds to a satisfactorily cleaned surface. Involves doing tests after a number, eg 5, repeated cleaning/sanitising procedures and then using a fairly simple calculation tp determine a Pass/Fail value.

Some equipment suppliers offer typical Pass/Fail levels for different surfaces. Procedures have been posted on this Forum.

 

Many people do ATP first since it's usually internal/quick to show if result is totally unacceptable, ie inadequate cleaning/sanitising.

 

Various example EMPG programs here -

 

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

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

 

Procedure for ATP baseline in this manual -

Attached File  Guide-to-ATP-Hygiene-Monitoring.pdf   1.61MB   2 downloads

(Pg 16 et seq)


Edited by Charles.C, 15 February 2021 - 05:22 PM.
rearranged

Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#7 Carmargab7

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Posted 15 February 2021 - 04:55 PM

Charles,

 

The swabs came from A hard Plastic FC Conveyor and Stainless FC Mixer.

 

Charles could you also help me understand the conversion of CFU/cm2 and CFU/cm3



#8 Charles.C

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Posted 15 February 2021 - 05:04 PM

Charles could you also help me understand the conversion of CFU/cm2 and CFU/cm3

 

What does the CFU/cm3 refer to ?

 

If cfu/cm3 is the lab result for yr delivered swab sample, probably need to multiply by total liquid volume (Ycc)  in the tube/bag/bottle to get the total count per sponge swab (X cfu).

X  corresponds to the total surface area (A cm2) tested.

X divided  by A gives  cfu/cm2

 

Offhand, it looks like the cleaning/sanitising (C/S) of conveyor/mixer insufficient. Or the surfaces were recontaminated before sampling. Or the sampling was done incorrectly. IMEX stainless steel surfaces usually achieve quite low micro. counts after C/S, plastic can be more tricky.

 

I'm guessing the counts you mention for finished Goods and Raw Materials are count/gram. Floor presumably 16in2

 

PS - Some previous threads have had similar queries where the lab failed to clearly explain what their results meant.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C






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