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Micro in Sugar Processing?

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Posted 31 January 2023 - 08:43 PM

Hi Everyone, 

During processing, is sugar typically tested for micro? If so, what for and what are typical limits for industry?

Evans X.

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Posted 01 February 2023 - 09:29 AM

Greetings MES,


There is no specific legislation regulating microbiological limits in sugar as it is considered a safe RTE food, same as honey or cocoa etc.

However, from literature, and some mentions in FDA guidelines for the assessment of microbiological limits in foodstuffs it is advised to do some testing periodically for yeasts - molds, E. coli and pathogens. Yeasts and molds if under the right conditions (temperature and possible moisture from mishandling) can overcome the high osmotic environment and grow. Also, E. coli, can consume glucose and produce gasses (that's a more unlikely possibility than Y-M, as the conditions have to be extremelly favorable) and lastly pathogens for the possibility of the existence of spore forms.

In that you could also test for thermopihilic bacteria.

An average on the paramter limits of what I mentioned above is:

Yeast - Molds < 20cfu/10g

E. coli < 10cfu/10g

Thermophilic bacteria < 150cfu/10g

and absence of pathogens in 25g (mainly Salmonella, Listeria is very unlikely).


That's just a suggestion though, just to be on the safe side, because if you read for example EU legislation there is a footnote for Salmonella, quoting "Regular testing against the criterion is not required in normal circumstances for the following ready-to-eat foods ........ -sugar, honey and confectionery, including cocoa and chocolate products". I am underlining the key words, on which I base my comments.


Hope this helps!



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Posted 01 February 2023 - 12:01 PM

Hi Everyone, 

During processing, is sugar typically tested for micro? If so, what for and what are typical limits for industry?

I think the EC agree with 1st line of Post 2 however numerous (and variable) specs exist if you google, eg -


Attached File  WFP Sugar.pdf   224.16KB   20 downloads

Attached File  National Sugar.pdf   107.54KB   15 downloads

Attached File  Tate and Lyle -Granulated Sugar.pdf   34.95KB   17 downloads

Kind Regards,



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