The Food Safety Modernization Act mentions both product testing and environmental monitoring (EM) as steps to take as part of a Preventive Controls program for human and animal food manufacturers and suppliers. A robust EM program is a vital part of a risk-based approach to food safety and an effective way to both determine weak spots in a sanitation program and identify possible points of entry for contamination.
Designing an EM program for your facilities involves a multi-layered approach and must take into consideration various factors such as, do your products have a high likelihood of pathogen contamination based on past data. How and when does your facility perform sanitation. Where are the sources of moisture in your plant, where does the moisture egress (drains) and where are the potential trouble spots where bacteria can grow that may not be reached successfully by your sanitation program. Do you want to test for spoilage organisms, specific pathogens or both. How often should you sample and at what time of the day. What are the most important Zones to test in your facility.
Another factor to be considered in your environmental program is allergen contamination. If you manufacture multiple products in the same environment do any of the products contain allergens and is your sanitation program completely removing the residue of these allergens before another product type is produced.
Q Laboratories’ analysts can discuss with you some best practices for designing and implementing an effective EM program. We will set up a system where we send you the supplies you need to execute your EM program. The supplies will be sent in a cooler with cool packs for you to utilize for sending the samples back to our facility after you have performed the sampling. We can provide swabs, sponges, water bottles, air density plates, etc. Contact us today to set up a program that works for you.