Environmental monitoring for spoilage organisms
Environmental monitoring is used by food production companies to plan for microbial spoilage as it allows them to address the issues as they arise. Quality management systems are useful because spoilage incidents can happen at irregular times. Without consistent monitoring, chronic issues can go unseen.
Processing environments are considered to be the main contributor to microbial quality issues. Manufacturers use environmental monitoring as verification of hygiene to control these issues. If a facility has poor environmental hygiene, it increases the risk of accidental microbial spoilage.
Microorganisms colonise in food processing environments. In these non-sterile environments, they are well-adapted to use the food product as a substrate for growth. Because the microorganisms have adapted, it increases the risk of spoilage if any cross-contamination occurs.
Facility-specific spoilage microbes adapt to withstand facility-specific production controls. Products and facilities use thermal processes to isolate heat-tolerant bacteria and fungi. Facilities employing yeast preservatives frequently isolate preservative-resistant yeast.
Having a poor cleaning regime can result in higher levels of environmental spoilage organisms and using cleaning products that are not broad spectrum can also give you high results of these organisms. Environmental harbourage of troublesome spoilage microbes is lead by the power of selective pressure.
Product recalls, withdrawals and a decrease in shelf life can be the result of microbial spoilage. The consequence of this is a negative perception from the consumer, an impact on brand reputation and significant cost.
Certain spoilage organisms can be associated with particular production methods and products. As a business, each facility should understand which spoilage organisms are present in their environment. They can use these associated types to determine whether a targeted strategy (focused on a specific type of organisms) or a general strategy (relying on relevant indicators) is more suited to their HACCP plan.
To identify specific spoilage organisms, the following needs to be evaluated; the tolerance of the spoilage organism to the formulation conditions, the resilience of spoilage organisms to the inactivation process employed and the affinity of the spoilage organism for the raw ingredients. Spoilage organisms are regularly grouped by a combination of detection, function and taxonomy methods. Lactic avoid, total plate count and yeast and mould are common groups.
Production plants across the UK are achieving the highest levels of product quality, safety and environmental hygiene with the help of 3M™ Clean-Trace™ Hygiene Monitoring and Management System.