Environmental Monitoring for BRCGS: ATP Hygiene Monitoring and Verification

Welcome to our Environmental Monitoring for BRC Global Standards for Food Safety (BRCGS) series. Download our free guide today.

Residue from production which remains on a surface after poor cleaning can encourage microorganism growth which leads to spoilage, risk of food poisoning and shelf life reduction.

ATP monitoring is ideal for use and an early risk indicator for inadequate removal of organic residue. As an established method of testing hygiene, it is used widely as a verification method for hygiene cleaning, but it cannot be used as a replacement for microbiological testing.

ATP hygiene verification systems use bioluminescence technology to identify and measure adenosine triphosphate, commonly known as ATP. Using ATP monitoring can be included as part of BRCGS Clause 4.11.3.

ATP Hygiene Monitoring and Verification
ATP monitoring can help you verify that hard to clean areas, such as piping nozzles, are free of organic matter.

What is ATP?

Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) is an energy molecule found in all plant, animal and microbial cells and it fuels metabolic processes. All organic matter (living or once-living) contains ATP, including food, bacteria, mould, and other microorganisms.

ATP testing devices contain a natural enzyme found in fireflies. This enzyme, called luciferase, produces a simple bioluminescence (light-producing) reaction when it comes into contact with ATP.

Using bioluminescence technology, ATP luminometers can measure extremely low levels of ATP collected with testing devices. Measuring the amount of bioluminescence from an ATP reaction on an activated swab provides an excellent indication of surface cleanliness. The quantity of light generated by the reaction is directly proportional to the amount of ATP present in the sample.

Using ATP Hygiene Systems for Environmental Monitoring

Although some ATP system manufactures will give guides to acceptable levels based on type of product being manufactured these should be used as a jumping off point for establishing in house levels. Determining the sampling frequency and ATP cut off levels will differ from business to business based on their own risk analysis.

A more common approach to customising pass/fail levels is through doing before and after testing over a period and including levels after conducting a deep clean to show what RLU levels are achievable.

Through this approach, over time that RLU levels are brought down to an agreed acceptable level and then maintain this level consistently.

Using data trending software, this approach can be expanded on by conducting statistical analysis of the ATP results over time. Through the use of data trending software which is provided with ATP systems results can be tracked allowing cleaning consistency to be scrutinised.

Repeat problem areas are highlighted giving companies valuable insight to potential hazards and areas where cleaning protocols need to be assessed further. For example, if the data shows erratic results the cleaning regime is highly variable and should be examined more closely to see why.

There are several ATP systems available to the UK market, but the most widely regarded are the 3M Clean-Trace™ LM1 Hygiene Monitoring and Management System and the Hygiena EnSURE Touch Monitoring System.

EnSURE Touch Unit

Hygiena EnSURE Touch Monitoring System

  • Safe and responsive touchscreen
  • Intuitive smart navigation – Making it easy for anyone to use
  • Secure cloud-based data management
  • Functions like a smartphone
  • USB or Wi-Fi sync capability
  • Supports multiple languages
  • Responsive 5-inch shatter-proof touchscreen


3M Clean-Trace™ LM1 Hygiene Monitoring and Management System

  • Audit ready system with all Your HACCP results in one place
  • Colour touch screen
  • Wireless data transfer through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi
  • Unique user IDs
  • Easy-to-use dashboard
  • 23 Languages

How Can We Help?

At Gem Scientific, we understand that environmental monitoring is a rigorous and multipronged methodology that requires diligent and well thought out management plans.

We are proud to provide a personal service that’s tailored entirely around your business. Our team work with companies to understand their unique requirements, then offer bespoke solutions to suit you.

Contact us today to discuss how we can help you work towards your environmental monitoring goals:

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