Category: Sanitation & Janitorial

Sussing Out Sampling in the Food Processing Environment

If you are in a position of responsibility for your company’s food safety program, you may be faced with deciding which sampling products to choose from, in a market that has no shortage of available items and product options.

To get to the bottom of what is right for your operation, you will need to ask, “What do I want to accomplish with my sampling and testing program and what media will work best?”

The cleaning and sanitization methods that are implemented in your food production facilities need to be effective in reducing potential pathogens.  There are many different chemicals and sanitizers utilized throughout the food industry, with each company designing their procedures to meet the specific cleaning required.  These sanitization chemicals must be considered when choosing your sample handling media.

The environmental monitoring program you have designed should detect any post sanitizing molecular cell life that may be present after the sanitization step.  The residuals of the sanitizers could affect the recovery of any remaining indicator or pathogen organisms that were injured or stressed by these chemicals.

Therefore a neutralizing buffer should be selected that will effectively deactivate the remaining sanitizer and allow for the recovery of any surviving organisms.

Another factor that influences which buffer to choose is what test methodology is being used, or do specific regulatory compliance methods recommend a specific type of media.  If you utilize a contract laboratory to test your microbiological samples you should contact them to determine which media they recommend for the procedures they will be conducting.

The food industry most commonly uses neutralizing buffer but also utilizes letheen broth and D/E neutralizing buffer.

Labalog cover

After the proper collection media has been selected, there are several options of sample collect tools to choose from.  Swabs are commonly used when sampling small areas approximately 4 inch x 4 inch.  If your sampling will exceed that size a sponge type of application should be selected.

If you are doing pathogen sampling, a 12 inch x 12 inch sampling area is recommended.

Keeping in mind a few of these basic concepts, you can make more informed choices on what sampling products to select.   Check out our Labalog HERE to see our wide line of sampling, testing, and monitoring products to choose from for your facility’s specific needs.   We’re here to help and make sure you get the products that are perfectly geared to your operation and needs.


ATP Meets Luminometer

When I joined the lab team in May I was familiar with lab equipment and testing but I wasn’t familiar with luminometers and ATP. I had heard of ATP in my biochemistry class back in college and how the body uses ATP but I wondered: how does that relate to plant sanitation and luminometers? To better understand the relation, it is easier if we break down the two components, ATP and luminometers and then bring it together.

ATP (Adenosine triphosphate)

Adenosine triphosphate better known as ATP can be found in all types of organic matter: plant, animals, and microbial cells. ATP is the energy source in all living cells. Since there is ATP in bacteria, and yeast and mold, it is key to monitor cleaning processes, but it can’t be the only monitoring of a clean surface. With plant material, like sugars, and starches, also having ATP, ATP testing can only verify the sanitation operating procedures. So, for example, consider walking into a hotel room and everything looks clean. However, we’ve all seen those stomach turning news reports about the true cleanliness of hotel bathrooms and we can’t forget the dreadful black light test on beds and floors.  What looks clean is not always clean.  So here comes in the luminometer to verify our cleanliness.

Luminometer

An ATP luminometer(in conjunction with ATP swabs) is a fast and easy way to help food processors assess and validate the hygienic status of food contact surfaces. Luminometers provide an objective, recordable verification of a sanitation efficacy in a food/beverage operations.   Interestingly enough, “The science behind the luminometer is based on the enzyme luciferase-the same enzyme that makes firefly tails glow. Residual ATP interacts with luciferase to generate light.”  There are several brands of luminometers on the market,with varying protocol, but the steps for testing are relatively the same. A small surface is selected for sampling, typically a 4in x 4in or 10cm x 10cm area. While maintaining a constant pressure during swabbing, apply zigzag strokes over the selected surface, as you see here:
Figure 1

Once the selected surface is swabbed, the swab is put back into the swab tube where it is “exposed to an ATP-releasing agent (lysis buffer) and an ATP-activated light-producing substrate and enzyme (luciferin and luciferase)” . The swab is then put into the luminometer chamber where it reads the enzymatic reaction that occurs between ATP and the luciferin/luciferase, measuring RLUs or relative light units. The higher the RLUs the more ATP present on the swabbed surface. The specification limits must be set by each plant to determine what is pass, warning and fail.

Bringing it All Together

Now that we know what ATP is and what a luminometer is and how they work together we can figure out what a luminometer can and cannot do in regards to plant sanitation. Since ATP is in all living cells (including bacteria, yeast, mold, carbohydrates, protein, and others), a luminometer can only validate that the sanitation process has been thoroughly completed. A luminometer cannot and does not test for microbes.   When used on the production line, luminometer results can determine if the production line will need to be re-cleaned or if production can resume or start up again. In essence, it is an indicator that your cleaning processes are meeting sanitary standards, to help you produce a safe product.   There are many aspects in selecting the best way to validate your sanitation process. If an ATP system is used, it can’t be the only system in place and does not constitute an environmental sample program within itself. Consult regulatory bodies and professional associations to find out what necessary precautions needs to be put in place to prevent cross-contamination and food-borne pathogens.  That being said, a quality ATP system can be a quick and easy preventative control to have in your food safety and QA/QC programs.


Arch Deluxe: Nelson-Jameson at IAFP

IAFP 2016 , image courtesy of foodprotection.org

IAFP 2016 , image courtesy of foodprotection.org

In the shadow of the towering Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, Nelson-Jameson will be displaying a host of products and services at the International Association for Food Protection Annual Meeting (IAFP)! From July 31st-August 2nd, swing by the Exhibit Hall at the America’s Center Convention Complex to see all we have to offer!   Dayton, Fritz, Amanda, Barb, and Mat will be in attendance to help you check out several of our offerings, and to assist in figuring out how Nelson-Jameson can be of service in supplying your Lab, MRO, Processing, Ingredient, Packaging, and Cleaning Chemical needs!  This year, we’ll be featuring a wide selection of Whirl-Pak bags, 3M Food Safety supplies & instruments, 3M Safety products, Metal Detectable & Color-Coded products, and a host of other quality items.

Each year we look forward to IAFP, as it gives us a chance to connect with customers on the front lines in the fight for food safety. The Exhibit Hall, as well as a remarkable program of presentations, workshops, and meetings bring together an array of resources that continue to propel the industry forward in our new regulatory era. To check out more about IAFP, click here. Be sure to stop by our booth (#619) to find out more about how Nelson-Jameson take care of all of your food safety supply needs and beyond!

In addition, this year we will be featuring an INCREDIBLE drawing for 3M ATP Clean-Trace Luminometer! The 3M Clean-Trace ATP Luminometer is portable, compact, and simple to use for easy testing. The Luminometer is supplied with data trending software that allows plants to filter, sort, and chart your results for easier analysis, making you feel more secure about the decisions that are being made for your plant.

All you have to do to win this beauty is to simply come visit us at Booth #619, and drop off your business card. One winner will be drawn at random, and booth attendance at the time of the drawing is not required. The prize is currently valued at over $3,000, and is not eligible for exchange, return, or credit to Nelson-Jameson or 3M.

See you under the Arch!


How Clean is Clean?

Food manufactures know they must produce a safe, quality food product that their customers will continue to trust. To do this they must be diligent in their quality assurance programs. Are you giving your sanitation group the proper allotted time and training to always perform their duties correctly? If you are involved in food manufacturing you want to answer “YES.”  But in reality, you have to implement programs to ensure the effective cleaning of your processes and equipment prior to each day’s start of production.

To be proactive many food manufacturers use a surface ATP (adenosine triphosphate-the energy molecule stored in all microorganisms) bioluminescence testing method. The ATP that is measured from a sample may be from food residue, bacteria, yeast, mold or some combination of these. Keep in mind the ATP methods only give a broad indication of the presence of organic substances and not specific microorganisms. This is a quick and simple to use system designed to detect ATP on surfaces after cleaning and prior to applying sanitation chemicals. If the ATP level found surpasses your established threshold the equipment must be re-cleaned and tested to confirm the surface is clean. By utilizing ATP testing this allows the sanitization group to improve their work immediately.

Monitoring your facilities hygiene is critical when it comes to HARPC and HACCP compliance. As part of comprehensive food safety program, it can also bring a great deal of peace of mind. If you compare the investment in strengthening your sanitization program verses the total costs associated with an outbreak or product recall (consider possible harm to your customers, litigation costs, wasted product, production downtime, and damage to your brand), the choice becomes pretty clear.

Simply put, ATP testing methods are an important tool in looking beyond the surface when it comes to clean. Keep an eye out for more ATP news right here on the Wide Line blog, including exciting new developments in ATP technology provided by 3M later this year. In the meantime, we’re here to help you with all of your ATP and environmental testing needs! Help is just a click or a call away!

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Targeting Pest Control

Pest Control Products Sale Flyer-2-1Pest control certainly doesn’t top the list of most people’s passions in life. In the food industry though, there is no avoiding the consistent threat to human health and to your operation’s success that pests pose on a relentless, daily basis. This reality motivates us at Nelson-Jameson to be passionate about keeping our customers supplied with the right tools for the right pest control jobs.

We recently mailed out our newest Pest Control Products Sale Flyer featuring an array of products that can help keep you on top of your pest control regiment. You’ll find sales pricing on an array of products including Shat-R-Shield bulbs and Insect-O-Cutor units. Keep an eye out for the flyer in your mailbox or take a look at a PDF version right here. To browse our extended selection of pest control products click here.

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