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Plastic Ducky

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Posted 21 September 2023 - 10:13 PM

HI all,

 

 

Quick question:

 

 

 

Food Defect Levels Handbook | FDA

 

 

excerpt from FDA link above.

Average of 75 or more insect fragments per 50 grams (of WHEAT FLOUR)

 

 

So is everyone testing their wheat flour for insect frags and rodent hairs using an AOAC approved method or otherwise validated method?

 

Please advise.

 

 



Plastic Ducky

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Posted 21 September 2023 - 11:01 PM

CONTINUED:

 

I am new to a company and environment.

 

I am reviewing the testing criteria that facilitates the positive release of raw materials.

 

Lots of testing criteria to facilitate the positive release of raw materials that I thought would be handled with a letter of guarantee from the vendor in the vendor approval process. 

 

In my youth I worked in a bakery, I do not recall them using an AOAC approved method to verify the absence of rodent hairs and insect fragments in accordance with the FDA Defect Action Level book noted. I do not recall them using the Howard Mold Count method to count the hyphae of mold on fruits and vegetables that were going to be thermally processed. But maybe my memory is bad.

 

What experience do you all have with these action levels and how they are addressed in your raw materials?

 

Sincerely grateful,

 

The Duck



MDaleDDF

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Posted 22 September 2023 - 11:50 AM

I don't test my flour for a dang thing, no.   It's flour, I assume it's dirty.   That's why you gotta cook it. 

 

I used to test some other raws, like my sugar with a sieve.  But I eventually considered that pointless as well.  There's little I can do if I don't like results from any raw ingredient testing.   They're not going to take it back, and even if they did it would shut me down a few days each time.  

 

I even used to do quarterly raw material path testing, and abandoned that as well.   You think they would do anything for me if it was positive?  Lol, they'd say 'it was fine when it left our place' and that would be that. 



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Scampi

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Posted 22 September 2023 - 01:03 PM

Flour is a RAW agricultural product, so unless your ingredient is heat treated flour, I wouldn't check it for anything

 

the only thing that has happened to flour after the wheat is harvested is grinding, so ya, insects are going to be present (in their ground form )


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jfrey123

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Posted 22 September 2023 - 07:24 PM

I've luckily not had to deal much with the FDA's defect action levels.  That said, in the little it's come up in my line of work, it's typically used by your supplier to justify a complaint you might send.  Your spec/criteria might be zero FM, and you complain about some bug parts, to which they'll reply that until the bug parts hit that published limit, that it's inherent to the process and they won't add extra controls unless it exceeds such level.

 

The defect action levels originated to plainly state that those items can't be wholly removed, so it's up to them to keep it under the levels.  If they ever go above, they'll just toss the batch and start again.



Charles.C

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Posted 23 September 2023 - 03:20 AM

So "raw" flour is never graded ?

 

Despite the previous responses, IIRC, various micro. specifications exist for commercially traded "raw"  flour.

 

Hmmm.


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Charles.C


Scampi

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Posted 26 September 2023 - 12:27 PM


Please stop referring to me as Sir/sirs


MDaleDDF

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Posted 26 September 2023 - 03:26 PM

Flour is a RAW agricultural product, so unless your ingredient is heat treated flour, I wouldn't check it for anything

 

the only thing that has happened to flour after the wheat is harvested is grinding, so ya, insects are going to be present (in their ground form )

Very true.  If you buy enough, like us, you don't even buy flour.   You buy wheat.   Then you pay a miller to mill that wheat into flour. 

 

The only paperwork I have from my miller is on their letterhead saying basically:  this flour is dirty and likely has pathogens in it.   Kill step it before eating.



Scampi

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Posted 26 September 2023 - 08:08 PM

more good reading to be had from Ardent Mills no less

https://www.ardentmi...white_paper.pdf


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matthewcc

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Posted 05 October 2023 - 08:32 PM

@Scampi I am not in the flour business.  However, as the CFR says, it is supposed to be milled down to a certain mesh size.  Otherwise, there could be rocks, metal fragments, and other physical hazards, right?  Also, what testing is done for pesticides, etc. that have nothing to do with biological or physical contaminants?

 

Testing for nothing at all???  Does this mean there are controls (including processing controls) against all of those hazards when no testing is done?

 

Besides, did anyone ever think about the risk of re-contaminating baked goods or other areas of the bakery/kitchen if a flour contains Salmonella?  For that reason, I never understand why a handler of flour can "wash their hands" (pun intended) of a potential pathogen contamination situation.  Even when a pet food is recalled for Salmonella, they mention the risk of handling the adulterated/recalled pet food, because you need to consider the risk of a pathogen contaminating something that will not get baked.



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Posted 06 October 2023 - 01:57 PM

I used to buy flour from ADM, ConAgra, and Ardent Mills. The only things I remember them testing for is Ash/ Falling Number, Moisture, and Protein %



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Posted 06 October 2023 - 08:10 PM

My understanding of the FDA's DAL's is that they're not intended to be a standard that all producers test to verify compliance, but rather a tool for certain food-stuffs which are somewhat expected to be dirty to be graded upon when a complaint is lodged.  At least that's how I've seen it used:  you complain to your flour vendor that you found some insect fragments, someone will test the product to see whether it hits the level that is actionable, and it's considered normal until the defect reaches that level.

 

It's an unfortunate aspect of life that some of these food-stuffs can't effectively be produced perfectly clean.  That's why we have to have the additional controls in place for each of our plants to control the risks associated with mass production/handling.





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