Tag Archives: 3m food safety

3M Molecular Detection Assay, E.Coli

3M’s Molecular Detection Assay for E. coli O157 Receives NF Validation

3M Molecular Detection Assay, E.Coli

3M Food Safety’s 3M Molecular Detection Assay 2 – E. coli O157 test received an NF Validation certificate from AFNOR Certification. The assay was found to be as or more effective than the EN ISO 16654 method for detecting E. coli O157 in raw beef meats, raw dairy products, raw fruits and vegetables by the AFNOR Certification expert committee.

The test is part of a line of assays that are compatible with the company’s Molecular Detection System platform, which combines isothermal DNA amplification and bioluminescence detection to expedite pathogen testing.

The NF Validation is an international certificate that is valid for four years.

Sangita Viswanathan, Former Editor-in-Chief, FoodSafetyTech

How Effective is Your Cleaning and Sanitation Program?

By Sangita Viswanathan
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Sangita Viswanathan, Former Editor-in-Chief, FoodSafetyTech

Cleaning and sanitation programs are indispensable in a food manufacturing plant, as they assure the safety and quality of food being produced. These programs are also key in protecting the integrity of your brand. Because of these programs’ importance, 3M Food Safety sent out a survey this summer toFood Safety Tech readers to learn more about how their manufacturing plants are checked for cleaning and sanitation effectiveness.

Here is what we heard back from 155 respondents:

  • Only 5.8 percent do not perform any type of cleaning and sanitation validation program in their facilities.
  • Of the 94.2 percent that do have a cleaning and sanitation validation program in place, 92 percent use more than one method to verify cleaning and sanitation effectiveness.
  • The methods of choice in order of higher preference were: visual check (86.8 percent), microbial testing (80.5 percent), ATP swabs (70.1 percent) and protein swabs (25.7 percent).
  • The most used combination of tests was visual checks along with ATP swabs (70 percent).

Analyzing the survey results, Camila Gadotti, Professional Service Account Representative for 3M Food Safety Department was surprised there were still a proportion of respondents (though small) who didn’t have a cleaning and sanitation program in place. “This is such an important part of food safety and quality, and yet we still have some people who don’t have a program in place. Also majority of people still rely on visual check, which is not a good system for a sanitation program.”

Since respondents could check more than one choice for which method they used, a lot of people did visual check in conjunction with other microbial or ATP swab testing. Of these methods, Gadotti pointed out that microbial testing, given that it could take 24 to 48 hours to get results, would be a slow process. “In this time frame, the product could have been sold in the market. So while the test results could still be used for corrective steps to improve sanitation, it’s not the ideal choice for testing.”

Instead, ATP swabs would be a faster and more sensitive alternative, she adds. “ATP swabs work on the science that every live cell contains ATP. This is not just microbial cells, but also product residue, which will generate light based on the chemistry of the product. And results are back in 10 seconds. So you can walk around, collect swabs, put them in the illuminator, and you will very quickly get a number, which is the Relative Light Unit. If the RLU level is considered safe, the facility is clean.” With new and stricter regulations on the food industry horizon, companies are increasingly moving to adopt ATP swab for their sanitation programs, says Gadotti.

Besides which method to choose, another important step in creating a cleaning and sanitation validation plan is the number of sampling sites to be tested. Readers were asked how many locations they test for and there was a wide spread of answers:

  • 65.3 percent test between 5 to 20 different locations in their plants for cleaning and sanitation effectiveness;
  • 14.6 percent of the respondents test between 20 to 30 locations;
  • 6.2 percent of the respondents test between 30 to 40 locations;
  • 3.5 percent of the respondents test between 40 to 50 locations; and
  • 10.4 percent of the respondents test more than 50 locations.

The respondents of this survey work in facilities that range from fresh cut fruits and vegetables to dairy, confectionery, meat and poultry plants. Each of these facilities chose validation methods that were deemed appropriate to support their cleaning and sanitation plans in their manufacturing plants. Although some methods are more common than others, choosing the right method for each processing plant will depend on factors like the type of food being produced, turn-around time, product label claims and, of course, cost.

Another observation from the survey was that people still see verification of sanitation program as an expense. Instead companies need to view this as an investment for the company and its food safety program, Gadotti says.

“Verifying the effectiveness of your cleaning and sanitation program does not need to be a lengthy and troublesome task. Adopting a couple different methods of verification, such as visual checks, microbial testing and/or ATP swabs, tested for in a couple dozen strategic locations throughout your plant should suffice to verify that your plant has been properly cleaned and sanitized. Remember, verifying cleaning and sanitation may help you prevent many issues like reduced shelf-life in your products and unnecessary product recalls,” she sums up.

Sangita Viswanathan, Former Editor-in-Chief, FoodSafetyTech

Food Safety Training: Trends and Gaps

By Sangita Viswanathan
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Sangita Viswanathan, Former Editor-in-Chief, FoodSafetyTech

With new regulations demanding more testing, consumer preferences and cost pressures creating global supply chains and markets demanding faster distribution, what are some of the demands on the food safety testing market? In this Q&A, 3M Food Safety Division’s Technical Service Director Nancy H. Eggink talks about trends and concerns when it comes to food safety testing and training. 

Food Safety Tech (FST): What are some big shifts/ trends in food safety testing that you are noticing?

Nancy Eggink: Not necessarily big shifts, but customers still are looking for easy to use tests that provide fast accurate results, The target lists are broadening (microorganisms & allergens), and the sample matrices more and more complex. Following R&D trends, nutraceuticals, unique flavors and novel processing are changing the foods, environments, and ultimately the testing needs. Currently available, and future tests must be able to accommodate these sample matrices and the innovations as they are commercialized.

FST: Given the evolving food safety regulations, how are educational and training needs for food labs managers and testing changing?

Eggink: When considering GFSI schemes and FSMA, the requirements indicate competencies and what constitutes a ‘qualified individual’. So now, it’s not just a requirement to have a training program and adhere to what the training program includes. It is a requirement to lay out competencies that an individual must have after training. This indicates the training should be developed to ensure it’s effective in delivering the appropriate content in a way the learner will develop a competency, and also it should be verified through an assessment process to ensure the competency was developed.

FST: What are some of the gaps in food safety testing that need to be addressed?

Eggink: Food industry leaders are looking for ways to ensure that they have fast accurate information to make the best possible decision at each step in the process. Without compromising accuracy and reliability, opportunities are those that make testing easier to use, provide faster results and improve productivity.

FST: What are areas of training that clients are seeking out the most? And why?

Eggink: With all the guidance and requirements available, it’s easy to get consumed with keeping up on the changes happening constantly. Our customers are looking to 3M Food Safety for training on how to effectively use our solutions so to ensure they have fast accurate information to make the best possible decisions. Our customers are seeking effective and efficient ways of staying current in their professional life that fits into their work demands, and we have a key initiative to provide them with access to high quality educational content and scientific information. This educational content will be offered in the form of hands-on product training, live seminars, on-line self-study and webinars to help them with their current and potential future challenges.

FST: What impact will lab accreditation have on food safety testing and methodology?

Eggink: Lab accreditation is similar to the GFSI schemes and FSMA in the sense it is development and implementation of a quality system within the laboratory operation to ensure predictable outcomes. Specifically, minimize the variation between the technology, processes, samples, technicians, tools, environment and ensure safety. Standardization of training & education is a critical component within that quality system to ensure consistency within that system.

FST: Specifically about 3M Food safety – what are your focus areas in terms of new products, testing solutions?

Eggink: Global regulations are changing and Microbiology labs are faced with considerable challenges including but not limited to rapid results, increasing volume of work, cost constraints and increasing customer, media and regulatory scrutiny. Our focus is to provide solutions in the food diagnostics testing market to address these needs at all levels and penetrate local markets and geographies. Pathogens are a real threat to public health, and we have recently launched an additional assay to our Molecular Detection System (Listeria monocytogenes), while working to ensure all assays have third party certifications against reference methods such as AOAC and AFNOR.

We also continue to innovate with Petrifilm™ Plates. Petrifilm™ Salmonella Express System provides a qualitative confirmed Salmonella result in as little as 44 hours which is two times faster than agar methods. The newest solution is Petrifilm™ Rapid Yeast and Mold Plate that provides quantitative Yeast and Mold counts at 48 hours. As customers ask for easy to use, faster results that don’t compromise accuracy and reliability, we will continue to innovate to meet those needs.