Microbial Contamination AND HOW TO COMBAT IT
Why you should be using a monitoring program, and how nomad can help
MICROBIAL CONTAMINATION TESTING – A NEW APPROACH
- Tests required for regulatory compliance are expensive so businesses tend to do the minimum safety testing required. This minimum is too low to ensure good process monitoring.
- Each process, product, product use and facility is unique: a one-size-fits-all approach has its limits.
- Lifestyles, consumer habits and consumer demands change quickly. Regulations are slow to catch up.
HACCP – MOVING TOWARDS PREVENTION AND MONITORING
Nowadays, more emphasis is placed on self-regulation, prevention (HACCP) and maintaining hygiene throughout the supply chain. Industry is taking a bigger and bigger role in consumer safety and satisfaction. HACCP and other bio-hazard risk management methods require businesses to assemble a multidisciplinary team and conduct step by step analysis to design and implement a monitoring program that works for them. HACCP is widely recognised as an efficient and cost effective way of controlling physical, chemical and biological hazards and it's a good idea whenever necessary for regulatory, operational or strategic reasons. Good Hygienic Practices (GHPs) also contribute greatly to consumer security and product quality. Controlling the microbial aspects of a process contribute to increased efficiency and reputation.
With few exceptions, these principles or approaches do not contain absolute values for an acceptable microbial counts. In many instances the acceptable counts will be determined by experience from your own data.
At Pinqkerton, our objective is to help you build that data.
The Value of BioBURDEN, HyGiene AND ENVIRONMENTAL testing
When implementing an environmental testing program, the main goal is to build up a powerful historical database of your microbial counts, enabling you to detect issues as soon as they arise, and remedy them quickly and effectively.
Among other benefits, your data will allow you to:
- Measure the effectiveness of sanitary design, staff practices and operational methods
- Glean information about indicator organisms, spoilage organisms and/or pathogens of concern, so that you can take the appropriate measures to prevent potential outbreaks
- Obtain early warning of microbiological hazards in production and post-production environments
- Identify microbial growth niches and hot-spots that might act as a source of contamination
- Document overall sanitation state of the facility
- Verify the results of the sanitation program and determine required frequency for cleaning and sanitation
WHY RUN a HYGIENE testing program?
Sources of contamination
WHAT FACTORS CAN INCREASE MICROBIAL CONTAMINATION RISK?
- Staff:- Lack of training- Direct contact between operator's hands and materials- Malpractice
Buildings and Facility:
- Inadequate pest control
- Rough floors, walls and ceilings
- Material and staff flow
- Inappropriate design, size, material
- Improper cleaning and sanitation
- Contaminated when entering the facility
- Improper sampling, testing and use of materials that fail to meet acceptance specifications.
- Poor storage conditions such as heat, cold, sunlight, moisture, etc.
Manufacturing Process:- Lack of dedicated production area, inappropriate zoning- Inappropriate cleaning in-between batches- Manufacturing system exposing the product to the immediate environment
Air Processing System:
- Accumulation of organic material in or near HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) air intakes
- Ineffective air processing
COST OF OWNERSHIP and RETURN ON INVESTMENT
In any business, ROI is an important component of any change plan and a microbial monitoring program is no exception.
The productivity gains and reduction in Cost-of-Non-Quality (CONQ) which will result from the new monitoring plan should be offset against the cost of design and implementation. Calculating CONQ is not always straightforward. If, for example, your goal is to avoid batch losses or to reduce testing costs by testing internally, the calculations might be fairly simply. However in cases where the CONQ is not immediately tangible, it can be tricky to evaluate the ROI of an internal monitoring program. For example, how highly do you value the reputation improvement that might come from a high standard of internal quality and safety and from avoiding errors? These are questions that only you can answer for your business.
It can equally be tricky to assess the costs of implementing a microbial monitoring program using nomad testers. Although all of our prices are transparent and available on our website, it would be overly simplistic to limit costing to the price of the consumable testers. Your own accounting methods, staff allocations and internal processes will influence your estimate of the overall budget that a monitoring program will require.
At Pinqkerton we are confident that we provide great value for money in our testing kits, and hope that our products will enable you to implement a cost-effective monitoring program with limited start-up costs.
Check out our Purchasing Guide for nomad Testers and kits for more information regarding pricing.
By the way...
We're developing a mobile & web platform that automates reading results, publishes reports and stores them safely for you and helps analyse your historical data. Our goal is to provide a painless and paperless monitoring tool.
If you're a nomad Tester user and would like to participate in our beta program, get in touch!