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Packaging Environmental vs Food Micro Testing

micro microbiology

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#1 Rocky

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 07:13 PM

Our company is BRC certified for Food Packaging under Issue: 6.0.

I am trying to determine the acceptable limits for our environmental monitoring.

Does anyone know what the acceptable limits are for APC, Total Coliforms, Enterobac, Yeast, Mold etc. To my knowledge (in food) it has been:

 

APC                              - <100,000    CFU/g

Total Coliforms             - <100            CFU/g

Enterobacteriaceae      - <100,000    CFU/g

E.Coli                           - < 10             CFU/g

Yeast                            - <5000          CFU/g

Mold                             - <5000          CFU/g

 

But I'm unsure what the industry norm is for food contact packaging. Any experts out there?

 

 

 



#2 Charles.C

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Posted 23 February 2021 - 09:28 PM

Our company is BRC certified for Food Packaging under Issue: 6.0.

I am trying to determine the acceptable limits for our environmental monitoring.

Does anyone know what the acceptable limits are for APC, Total Coliforms, Enterobac, Yeast, Mold etc

 

To my knowledge (in food) it has been:

 

APC                              - <100,000    CFU/g

Total Coliforms             - <100            CFU/g

Enterobacteriaceae      - <100,000    CFU/g

E.Coli                           - < 10             CFU/g

Yeast                            - <5000          CFU/g

Mold                             - <5000          CFU/g

 

But I'm unsure what the industry norm is for food contact packaging.

 

Any experts out there?

 

Hi Rocky,

 

I'm unclear as to whether yr micro list relates to EMPG or actual Foods. I guess the latter since numbers/gram. If so, with due respect, generalisations are difficult. Just as examples, one may distinguish between RTE and NRTE and Location. The OP list seems to be unaware of Pathogens ?. Can compare numbers with the (food) data compilations in 2 following links which illustrate the considerable potential diversities-

 

https://www.ifsqn.co...ds/#entry127333

https://www.ifsqn.co...al/#entry127998

 

With respect to food EMPG, a compilation of food contact surface bacterial limits exists at following link and (again) illustrates the enormous diversity of data/opinions -

 

http://www.ifsqn.com...ces/#entry60958

 

Afaik many (most?) Packaging products are derived from high temperature processes which should yield pristine micro. characteristics, ie negligible safety risk. However post-production contamination may occur although (as you presumably know), BRC suggests that pathogens rarely survive on Packaging so focus on other parameters is feasible. From a FS POV focused on micro measurements for direct/indirect food packaging contact surfaces and the surrounding air (micro may not be the only hazards of course).

 

Packaging not really my area of expertise but, assuming the native condition is as mentioned above, one would presumably, ideally, expect that  EMPG  "Packaging" micro. limits  approximate "undetected". :smile:

 

Offhand, I am not aware of any significant  Literature compilations of EMPG micro data for Packaging however I did a fairly recent, semi-quantitative, mini-survey within this Forum in the short (BRC) thread linked below which generated a variety of hopefully useful cross-links -

 

https://www.ifsqn.co...mp/#entry160955


Edited by Charles.C, 23 February 2021 - 09:39 PM.
edited slightly

Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#3 RDM_Rep

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Posted 12 March 2021 - 09:00 PM

Hello,

 

I have a similar question. Our facility has 0 contact with food or organic matter as we are a food packaging manufacturer and supplier of plastics only - our work is entirely to do with plastic. We are attempting to gain SQF certification but I am unclear as to whether we would need any kind of environmental monitoring? It is not a mandatory clause, so I am questioning whether it is applicable to our line of work and would appreciate any experienced input with similar situations. 



#4 Charles.C

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Posted 12 March 2021 - 09:53 PM

Hello,

 

I have a similar question. Our facility has 0 contact with food or organic matter as we are a food packaging manufacturer and supplier of plastics only - our work is entirely to do with plastic. We are attempting to gain SQF certification but I am unclear as to whether we would need any kind of environmental monitoring? It is not a mandatory clause, so I am questioning whether it is applicable to our line of work and would appreciate any experienced input with similar situations. 

 

Hi RDM,

 

Have you studied the SQF Standard/Sub-Forum for Packaging ?

 

BRC and SQF tend to have similar expectations on many items.

 

Links in Post 2 of this thread eventually lead into various SQF threads like this one -

 

https://www.ifsqn.co...ng/#entry121131

 

PS - I just noticed yr parallel thread which queries various requirements of the SQF Standard -

https://www.ifsqn.co...on/#entry171590

 

I sympathise since SQF (and others) can be (intentionally?) mystical at times regarding "scope". It may help to read the Packaging Guidance for SQF8 since when I last looked the Guidance for SQF9 (as usual) lags the Standard by an indeterminate period.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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#5 RDM_Rep

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Posted 12 March 2021 - 10:09 PM

Hi RDM,

 

Have you studied the SQF Standard/Sub-Forum for Packaging ?

 

BRC and SQF tend to have similar expectations on many items.

 

Links in Post 2 of this thread eventually lead into various SQF threads like this one -

 

https://www.ifsqn.co...ng/#entry121131

 

Thank you for that thread, it proved to be a really great resource !



#6 Charles.C

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Posted 12 March 2021 - 10:22 PM

Thank you for that thread, it proved to be a really great resource !

 

Hi RDM,

 

Glad to help. Not myself a SQF user but I would add that IIRC, after SQF launched this EMPG topic for Packaging a short while back, some users attempted at length to justify via "Risk Assessment" that no micro swabbing was required for their facilities. I think this thrust had some success after to-and-fros with the SQF heirarchy but I suspect that SQF's viewpoint has subsequently "hardened" as maybe illustrated in some other recent threads.

 

SQF Packaging users are welcome to correct me if their evasive responses are still working. :smile:


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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