Category: Sanitation & Janitorial

Levels of Clean

“Clean” is seemingly a self-apparent word. We know it when we “see” it, right? Perhaps we can “feel” it after we finish the process of cleaning (ooh, it can be a verb too!)? This isn’t meant to get too metaphysical or anything, but if we take a second and really consider the meaning of the term, it can get problematic quickly.  

Outwardly clean-looking surfaces can easily harbor microscopic maleficence. For instance, what would happen if a food-contact surface that otherwise looked pristine had a contaminated surface as big as the head of a pin. How bad could it be? In the case of norovirus, the amount of viral particles that can fit in that tiny space “would be enough to infect more than 1,000 people”.

The ramifications of these microscopic realities are something Nelson-Jameson always has on the forefront of our minds. To create safe, quality food, we need to think on a microscopic scale…far beyond seeing and feeling what clean really is in food and beverage production facilities. This is why we feature everything from Environmental Testing Solutions to advocating for Color-Coded Programs to prevent cross-contamination concerns. 

Even your choice of cleaning tools used in the plant can make a difference. For example, we feature an array of products from Vikan’s “Ultra Safe Technology” (UST) line. Opposed to staple or resin set brushes, UST products feature a fully molded body that reduces risk of filament loss. The design of the brushes also ensures cleaning efficacy as well as preventing the risk of harborage in the cleaning tools themselves. Designed to clean efficiently as well as to be cleaned efficiently, UST products represent a way to further define exactly what “clean” is as well as what it can be. 

An array of industries critically concerned about “clean” including pharma, cannabis, and the food industry have found interest in UST technology. Especially popular with ready-to-eat food facilities, UST is also ideal for any of our customers wanting to further examine cleaning efficacy in their plants. To learn more about UST, check out our website, and/or reach out to a product specialist at sales@nelsonjameson.com or 800.826.8302.       


Nelson-Jameson Releases New Color-Coded Catalog

Nelson-Jameson has expanded their color-coded program once again with the release of their 2019 Color-Coded Catalog. This year’s catalog has grown to 56 pages of products that help to prevent allergen migration and cross-contamination. From the lab to the processing line, Nelson-Jameson has the color-coded products you need to produce safe, quality food.

In addition to having the most extensive color-coded program in the industry, we also have the most color options! Nelson-Jameson is now proud to offer gray, brown and lime products from Remco/Vikan® to help meet all your color-coded needs. The expanded catalog also includes new items like Color-Coded Cable Ties, Flagged Angle Brooms, Nylon Scrapers and more!

For more information or to request a catalog, visit nelsonjameson.com.

 

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Your Safe, Quality Food is our Business

Nelson-Jameson takes food safety very seriously, and we know that you do too. That is why we offer a wealth of products and solutions that can help your facility reduce the risk of foodborne illness and contamination. From Color-Coding and Metal Detectable to Hand Hygiene and Environmental Testing – we have many programs available to help ensure your processing facilities are compliant, providing safe, quality food to all.

To talk to one of our food safety experts about these programs or to receive an informational flyer featuring these programs, give us a call at 800-826-8302 or visit our website today!

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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.