Saving time required to conduct pathogen tests means safer food and better operational efficiency, according to Romer Labs.
When it comes to testing food samples, time is of the essence. Tim Lawruk of Romer Labs talked to FoodProduction Daily on the importance of speedy results in protecting public health, and a food operation's bottom line.
Why is speed important in pathogen testing?
The ability to determine the safety of a food product hours, or even days, faster provides a significant cost savings in terms of storage costs, shipping, product shelf life, and overtime. For example, a processor of food products that follows a test-and-hold policy would have to have storage capacity for two days' production if they are using a 48-hour culture method, compared to only one day's capacity if using a rapid 24-hour method.
What are some of the most pressing concerns of food safety professionals face in the testing arena?
As the pressure for more pathogen testing increases, food companies look for more cost-effective testing solutions to meet budgetary requirements. As a food processor, choosing the best pathogen detection method can be a very difficult decision; the method should have a meaningful impact on the total cost-in-use for your food safety program but most importantly, provide maximum assurance of reliability in your test results.
Also, meeting regulatory requirements becomes even more important at the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) nears implementation. Romer Labs' RapidChek and RapidChek SELECT pathogen detection systems were developed to deliver the required time-to-result and accuracy while also providing documented cost saings, faster product release, ease-of-use, batch size scalability, and third-party certifications.
How can technology boost operational workflow?
The workflow for RapidChek pathogen tests is usually very streamlined. A RapidChek test for Listeria would include the detection of the pathoen directly from the primary enrichment using a simple lateral flow test strip, whereas conventioanl culture methods require streaking to selective agar plates and further incubation time. The agar plates are usually examined for typical colonies which, due to its subjectivity, require a trained microbiologist.
The simplicity of the RapidChek system also means there are less transfers and less chance for operator error.
One of the most common causes of preventable infections is poor hand hygiene. iScrub Lite 1.5, an iPhone and iPod touch application developed at the University of Iowa, makes monitoring hand hygiene compliance more efficient and accurate.More
An important Critical Control Point (CCP) incorporated into every food safety program is the time / temperature products are cooked, cooled and refrigerated. Failure to comply with CCP’s may result in the food products falling outside of acceptable microbiological safety limits, leading to expensive product recalls.
Arrow Scientific can assist you to easily monitor, record and report temperatures at every CCP in the production process with the new HACCP Manager™ kit. The kit provides the software, hardware and PC interface for the collection, recording and reporting of temperature measurements.
The handheld 37100 water resistant thermocouple instrument is compatible with any Type K thermocouple probe, and can store up to 3000 temperature readings. Pre-set limits can be saved for each measurement point and in circumstances where the temperature is outside this range, the user will be alerted by the handheld unit. The user must then select corrective action before the handheld unit will accept a measurement for another point.
Using the supplied USB cable, all data captured on the handheld unit can be transferred to your PC. The state-of-the-art HACCP Manager™ database system allows the user to customise the information to generate reports specific to their requirements. Such information includes: employee name, location, product descriptions, temperature tolerances, actual temperatures, corrective actions, date and time stamps.
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Long-wave ultraviolet light is used for the detection of many items that fluoresce, such as ‘secret’ markings placed on many items such as bank notes and the detection of rodents.
The detection of rodent contamination by UV light is based on the phenomenon of rodent urine showing blue-white to yellow-white fluorescence when viewed under UV light. The fresher the stains the more blue fluoresce.
However, as with any detection tool it has limitations and requires understanding on how to correctly interpret the observations made throughout the inspection. Rodents urinate when in motion and their paths are visible under black light in characteristic ‘droplet’ pattern or trails. It is important to remember that cleaning products, bleaches, packaging glues and adhesives also fluoresce under UV light.
GlitterBug® Powder is a specifically formulated, non-toxic powder that stands out under UV light. Using a brush, apply a small quantity of powder in area where the rodents have been noted. When the rodents walk across the powder it adheres to their feet and tails leaving behind tracks that can easily be seen under a UV light. As rodents are creatures of habit, they will return to this area the following night and walk through powder. With the runs clearly mapped out, you will be able to choose the correct locations to place traps and baits. Access holes will also be easier to find and area highlighted that require disinfecting.
GETTING THE BEST FROM A ‘BLACK LIGHT’:
re one the "Big 8" allergens
Allergens not listed on labels are the single largest cause in the USA reported during the second quarter, with a worrying 60%, up from 34% in the first quarter from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Micro testing without a Macro investment. It's now more affordable and easier to do microbiological testing than you may think.
Arrow Scientific can provide you with everything you need to perform micro testing on your own site.
By using 3M Petrifilm™ Plates with the Start-Up package, you'll have an official testing method that provide results in just three easy steps. Petrifilm is a ready to use microbiological growth media tot test surfaces for hygiene and products for food safety.