Microorganisms are present in a multitude of different places. They can already be present in food products (for example via raw ingredients) but may also contaminate products in the (production) environment. Potential sources of contamination are contact surfaces and surrounding air.
During production, a key environmental threat is direct contact. Consider crates, boilers, conveyor belts, pipes where food is stored or transported, but also employees who touch products. In order to minimise this contamination from the environment, it is vital that materials are cleaned and disinfected efficiently and that proper hygiene practices are followed. Without proper programs in place, there is a risk that contamination involving a microbial load will remain on contact surfaces and, in certain cases, may even develop into a biofilm.
Monitoring the correct implementation and operation of an HACCP plan, whether this involves cleaning and disinfection or proper hygiene practices, is generally done by using a sample with Rodac imprint plates or swabs, both of which have specific advantages and disadvantages.
Contact our Technisch Commercieel Manager – Labo
|Rodac imprint plates||Swab|
|Not suitable for all surfaces||Also for difficult-to-reach surfaces|
|Limited mechanical force||Mechanical force|
|Standardisation||Reduced standardised surface|
Rodac imprint plates are generally used to determine the total bacterial count, yeasts and moulds and Enterobacteriaceae. Swabs are more widely used to detect pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes (but also Listeria spp.), Salmonella, STEC. If quick results are required (e.g. in case of an acute problem), a PCR method can be used.
Air is also a potential source of contamination. There are currently no specific standards set for microorganisms in the air. Especially in (high care/high risk) production zones, but also, e.g. in hospitals and residential care centres, it is essential to have an accurate picture of the risks and to enact measures to keep these under control. The evolution of the microbial load in the air depends, among other things, on the quality of the influx of air, the microbial status of the indoor environment, but also on parameters such as temperature and relative humidity.
We determine the air quality after taking on-site samples. We use a dedicated ‘air sampler’ for this purpose. The parameters ‘total bacterial count’ and ‘yeasts and moulds’ are most often requested.
Do you need help with microbiological analyses? Our specialists are happy to assist you further. Please contact us for more information.
Technisch Commercieel Manager – LaboContact
All microbiological analyses need to be carried out in a reliable manner. That is why we are ISO17025 accredited (080-TEst BELAC). We also have several other endorsements.
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By bundling all expertise, Normec Foodcare helps with all kinds of issues and solutions in the field of process control, quality and food safety, laboratory research, taste tests, QA automation, flexible deployment of quality managers and inspectors, education and training, risk management and label control.
Do you want to know more? Please contact us.