How clean is it? What Hygiene Monitoring can tell you about the safety of your food handling areas
Hygiene Monitoring helps ensure quality and safety because it requires food to be handled in specific ways. Implementing monitoring processes should include those that can be tracked to identify potential issues and concerns over the safety and quality of food products.
As discussed earlier, the monitoring of food manufacturing environments has become a key element in ensuring that food is safe for consumption. The other alternative to monitoring the food manufacturing environment is to undertake an examination of the final food product. However, this is dependent upon the examination of sufficiently large numbers of samples to produce meaningful results. Normally, testing is performed on small sample numbers which are insufficient to obtain statistically meaningful results.
Ensuring that food preparation areas are clean and sanitized can be achieved using the following methods:
Bacteriological Counts using swabs and agar plates, contact plates or dipslides – this is the most sensitive method which directly reflects the level of bacterial contamination present on surfaces but it requires access to a laboratory and is slow, requiring 48 hours of incubation.
Detection of food residues – this method is based on the fact that food residues are associated with residual bacterial contamination. If surfaces are thoroughly cleaned, both food residues and bacterial contamination are removed. If surfaces are not cleaned thoroughly, both food residues and bacterial contamination will remain on surfaces. The level of bacterial contamination can increase over time as the bacteria are able to use the food residues as a source of nutrition. This method only takes a few seconds to perform, requires no training and does not require any equipment.
Each of the above methods can be used to determine that cleaning and sanitizing activities are effective and will ensure that your business is producing food that is safe and compliant for your customers. These methods provide valuable production information which will assist in determining that:
Key production areas and equipment are areas are being cleaned and sanitized
Production time is maximized
Contamination of products is not occurring even after packaging and storage
Your brand is protected
Contact Ugene Laboratories and allow us to help design a meaningful and cost effective Hygiene Monitoring Program for your company that will give you confidence that all of the above are under control and the future of your business is secure. This program can involve testing using laboratory based programs that Ugene can participate in, or can be managed internally by your company using the UClean food residue detection system available from Ugene Laboratories. A combination of both of these strategies is often the best option.