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Listeria - RTE imitation crab


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Miss Frankie

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Posted 22 June 2022 - 10:19 PM

We manufacture high end, RTE imitation crab. 

Starting 2 weeks ago, we received a positive listeria result on some product. 

We have since had several more positive results on the product
We have followed all protocols, sent additional samples to a 3rd party lab for further testing (negative for L. Mono.)

We have done additional cleaning, more environmental swabbing (40 areas on the line) swabbed our QC lab, etc.

We have a kill step that is closely monitored (88°C)  

We've added more boot wash and hand washing stations, changing hand dips more frequently.

 

EVERYTHING (environmental) we have tested is coming back negative.  Yet some product is still testing positive.

 

We have currently shut down production and are doing a total plant clean up.

 

I'm currently searching for a 3rd party lab that will come to our facility and do some in-house testing/swabbing.

 

Does anyone have any ideas on what other steps we can take?  Does anyone have a lead on a 3rd party lab within a couple hours of the Seattle area or even BC Canada?  (We're between Seattle & BC)



Brothbro

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Posted 22 June 2022 - 10:25 PM

IEH laboratories is headquartered out of the Seattle area, they do offer consulting services for this type of scenario. So far your follow-up actions sound like a great start, it's hard to really pin down what a root cause may be without a detailed understanding of your facility design.

 

https://www.iehinc.com/



Miss Frankie

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Posted 22 June 2022 - 10:41 PM

IEH laboratories is headquartered out of the Seattle area, they do offer consulting services for this type of scenario. So far your follow-up actions sound like a great start, it's hard to really pin down what a root cause may be without a detailed understanding of your facility design.

 

https://www.iehinc.com/

Thank you!  I will contact them.

Our president doesn't like to share information about our process, so I can't go into a lot of detail.



Charles.C

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Posted 23 June 2022 - 02:41 AM

We manufacture high end, RTE imitation crab. 

Starting 2 weeks ago, we received a positive listeria result on some product. 

We have since had several more positive results on the product
We have followed all protocols, sent additional samples to a 3rd party lab for further testing (negative for L. Mono.)

We have done additional cleaning, more environmental swabbing (40 areas on the line) swabbed our QC lab, etc.

We have a kill step that is closely monitored (88°C)  

We've added more boot wash and hand washing stations, changing hand dips more frequently.

 

EVERYTHING (environmental) we have tested is coming back negative.  Yet some product is still testing positive.

 

We have currently shut down production and are doing a total plant clean up.

 

I'm currently searching for a 3rd party lab that will come to our facility and do some in-house testing/swabbing.

 

Does anyone have any ideas on what other steps we can take?  Does anyone have a lead on a 3rd party lab within a couple hours of the Seattle area or even BC Canada?  (We're between Seattle & BC)

Hi Miss  Frankie,

 

You should probably also test yr raw materials, perhaps quantitatively.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


kfromNE

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Posted 23 June 2022 - 12:37 PM

Maybe swab the packaging of the raw materials as well.

 

Good luck. Many of us have been there.


Edited by kfromNE, 23 June 2022 - 12:37 PM.


Scampi

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Posted 23 June 2022 - 12:53 PM

Also swab your finished good packaging

 

 

FYI when maple leaf foods had the massive listeria recall, it turned out that it was hiding deep in a slicing machine that was re-contaminating everything post sanitation---they were following the manufacturers instruction

 

 

Make sure that the machinery is as disassembled as it possibly can be----every last nut and bolt    and then fully clean and sanitize BUT do not reassemble until your swabs come back---this downtime is the only thing between you and a recall (or worse)

 

https://www.food-saf...eak-food-safety

 

After careful study of the records, a panel of international food safety experts concluded that the most likely source of the contamination was meat residue in the Bartor Road plant, which accumulated deep inside the slicing machines of two production lines in the processing plant. The equipment sanitization process was completed in accordance with the recommended manufacturer’s cleaning protocols on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. However, upon full disassembly, the residue was found deep inside the slicing machines, providing an ideal environment for the Listeria bacteria to multiply and subsequently contaminate the deli meats produced on the lines. (Government of Canada, 2009)

 

https://www.ukessays...-leaf-foods.php


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Kara S.

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Posted 23 June 2022 - 02:51 PM

Also check your overheads! If you have open product and there is condensation it could be a contributing factor. Compressed air or other air systems as well.

Remember to wait about 2-4 hours after cleaning to take swabs this allows any lingering bacteria time to grow and multiply.


Kind regards, 

 

Kara Scherer 

Food & Beverage Industry Consultant

LinkedIn  |  Webpage

 

 


Miss Frankie

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Posted 29 June 2022 - 10:46 PM

Thanks everyone.  Lots of good ideas/suggestions.

We shut down production for about 30 hours and did a complete cleaning.  
Implemented stricter sanitation procedures, did sanitation training with everyone, added hand dips and boot wash stations throughout the facility.

We are also fairly certain we determined where the listeria was coming from and have taken steps to prevent it from happening again.

The past few days, all product has been negative!!   :smile:

So, hopefully this is all behind us, except for writing the final corrective actions.   :thumbup:



Charles.C

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Posted 30 June 2022 - 08:48 AM

Thanks everyone.  Lots of good ideas/suggestions.

We shut down production for about 30 hours and did a complete cleaning.  
Implemented stricter sanitation procedures, did sanitation training with everyone, added hand dips and boot wash stations throughout the facility.

We are also fairly certain we determined where the listeria was coming from and have taken steps to prevent it from happening again.

The past few days, all product has been negative!!   :smile:

So, hopefully this is all behind us, except for writing the final corrective actions.   :thumbup:

Hi Miss Frankie,

 

Good to know you may be "homing in" on the problem.

Can you give some indication as to the "area" of your suspected source of Listeria ?

My money is that it is related (somehow) to the raw material rather than a random effect from the general environment (eg à la Scampi)  :unsure:


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


Andy_Yellows

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Posted 30 June 2022 - 11:13 AM

Glad to hear you feel like you're pretty much there with it now- my question is did you take samples at each process step for testing? When we had a Listeria finding last year we sent raw, untouched material and then samples at every step in a bid to nail down where the contamination occurred.


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Kara S.

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Posted 30 June 2022 - 12:47 PM

Thanks everyone.  Lots of good ideas/suggestions.

We shut down production for about 30 hours and did a complete cleaning.  
Implemented stricter sanitation procedures, did sanitation training with everyone, added hand dips and boot wash stations throughout the facility.

We are also fairly certain we determined where the listeria was coming from and have taken steps to prevent it from happening again.

The past few days, all product has been negative!!   :smile:

So, hopefully this is all behind us, except for writing the final corrective actions.   :thumbup:

 

 

Hi Miss Frankie,

 

Good to know you may be "homing in" on the problem.

Can you give some indication as to the "area" of your suspected source of Listeria ?

My money is that it is related (somehow) to the raw material rather than a random effect from the general environment (eg à la Scampi)  :unsure:

 

 

Great news, Miss Frankie! 

 

Like Charles, I too am curious the root cause. If there is any learnings you can provide from the incident without giving too much away that would be appreciated! I completely understand if its too delicate a matter to discuss openly. 


Kind regards, 

 

Kara Scherer 

Food & Beverage Industry Consultant

LinkedIn  |  Webpage

 

 


Miss Frankie

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Posted 01 July 2022 - 03:10 PM

When they run too much product, sometimes it doesn't get cold enough for our standards to be packaged.  So it goes in 'overflow' bags and is put in the big (colder) freezer until it gets down to temp, then if fed back on the line.  We suspect these bags may have been contaminated, and employees handling them were not properly following GMP protocols on using hand dips.

We got them a larger tub to accommodate the bags and only one employee is handling the bags.



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Charles.C

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Posted 01 July 2022 - 09:01 PM

When they run too much product, sometimes it doesn't get cold enough for our standards to be packaged.  So it goes in 'overflow' bags and is put in the big (colder) freezer until it gets down to temp, then if fed back on the line.  We suspect these bags may have been contaminated, and employees handling them were not properly following GMP protocols on using hand dips.

We got them a larger tub to accommodate the bags and only one employee is handling the bags.

Hi Miss Frankie,

 

Thanks for feedback. Apologies for my ignorance but what do you mean by "standards" ? Product samples ?


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


Miss Frankie

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Posted 01 July 2022 - 09:10 PM

Our product must be <10°C coming off our spiral freezer before packaging.



Charles.C

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Posted 03 July 2022 - 07:46 AM

Our product must be <10°C coming off our spiral freezer before packaging.

Hi Miss Frankie,

 

Thks for clarification.

 

I suppose the problem could also be a (sometimes) less than 100% perfect pasteurization process ?. IMEX (shrimp) it is useful to occasionally quantitatively monitor samples of the product before and after thermal treatment  for L.mono. as a means of verifying the effectiveness of the pasteurization.

(afaik L.mono is the only significant human pathogen in this genus although i imagine a core temperature of 88degC should obliterate all the listeria spp unless very high levels were present).


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


Marloes

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Posted 04 July 2022 - 10:03 AM

It is also a smart move to take product samples throughout your production process.
In your case I would recommend a sample after every production step, this way you can review where possible contamination could take place.

 

Also keep in mind that if you have a biofilm containing Listeria that it is most likely not gone after a single cleaning. It might take a few sessions, in which cleaning may actually temporarily increase the Listeria it releases. 



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Posted 04 July 2022 - 05:28 PM

If the testing is PCR based it may be picking up dead Listeria DNA in the finished product.  Ask about the methods, make sure the lab is accredited and do more sampling of the environment. 

 

I'd suggest mapping out your facility, like get a big physical map and write on it where you have sampled, what is negative, and what is positive and do a huge amount of environmental sampling. Sometimes you may only find a few environmental positives if the plant is overall very clean, even if you do a thousand tests.  Doing a thousand environmental tests is cheaper than a recall and will likely find the source. It may seem daunting but break it down into bite size pieces. For example do 50 to 100 per day, map out your facility until every area in the RTE areas are sampled especially any wet areas.  Undersides of equipment, disassembled equipment etc. Partner with a lab, even if not local that is used to high volume Environmental testing for Listeria spp. I've heard good things about Food and Ag Lab for high volume environmental Listeria spp testing foodandaglab.com .  Make sure the lab you are using is ISO17025 accredited for Listeria testing (both Listeria spp. for environmental, and Listeria mono for product).    






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