How to Perform Quality Food Safety Testing In-shift
why is in-shift data important?
Right now, food processors don’t have the ability to properly respond in shift because they don’t receive the data until the next day or later if they’re using traditional test methods. Therefore your corrective actions are lagging the incident by 24-48 hours. Why is this important? A “hot spot” may migrate in the normal course of producing food due to a variety of factors such as foot traffic, product flow, sanitation (that isn’t seeking out to clean this particular hotspot) etc.
This barrier of having to wait a minimum of 24 to 48 hours pushes quality and safety to the back end of your process, forcing you to have the entire 24 – 48h (or more) worth of production at risk – barring other containment and compartmentalization measures.
Sample6 breaks through this data-lag barrier and provides results within 6 hours; from sample to result in six hours. This fast data feeds your Pathogen Environmental Monitoring Plan (PEMP), allowing you to test all surface areas including food- and non-food-contact surfaces for enhanced coverage and reduction of risk.
To illustrate the point see below for a representative PEMP sampling schedule
- Your QA team collects 20 samples at 6am, they are finished prepping these samples by 6:30 am, so they will be ready for analysis by 12:30 pm.
- Data collection starts at 12:30 and by 1pm you have your data!
- If there were a presumptive positive, Sample6 CONTROL automatically sends a notification email with all the relevant information to the sanitation team (and everyone else that needs to know) to initiate a corrective action.
- The corrective action is then carried out, and once completed by sanitation in the system, QA will be notified for eventual verification re-testing.
- The process can continue as required…
Compare this to your current scenario, where FedEx just picked up the first 6am swabs to be sent to an offsite lab at mid-day.
Denser and more comprehensive surveillance of your production environment leads to a reduced risk profile for consumers and you brand.
In-Shift Data Coupled to Less Than Daily Sanitation
Less Than Daily (LTD) sanitation—or continuous-run sanitation programs—have contributed to improvements in process control, and are a hallmark of many progressive food processors. Typically, processors shut down production lines during the 2nd or 3rd shift (depending on your production schedule) to clean and sanitize. The LTD concept is that the “sanitation” shift will continue to produce product if it meets microbial load and preventive controls criteria. For the sanitation shift to also verify that the preventive controls are met specifically for environmental pathogens like Listeria, a much faster test than traditional molecular testing is needed. With Sample6, you could have 3 data driven remediations/corrective actions in the same day, which allows any progressive processor to take advantage of their LTD programs.
Corrective Actions That Improve Process Control
A problem our industry faces is that verification of corrective actions and preventive controls for environmental pathogens is delayed using traditional molecular and other methods by the well-known 1-2 days. To re-state how these terms are used: Corrective Actions eliminate a detected nonconformity or deviation to support process control. Preventive Controls prevent future cause of a potential nonconformity or deviation. Now one necessarily agrees that is is difficult truly verify elimination or prevention if you are waiting 1-2 days for pathogen test data. In the worst case scenario the operator finds themselves chasing moving hot spots around the plant in a futile loop. Even in the best case scenario however, production lines sit idle while the verification data is being generated, unnecessarily increasing costs and decreasing efficiency.
Sample6 enabled you to clear your process workflow on data generation in-shift for all your verification needs.
Corrective Actions and Preventive Controls are more powerful and effective with 6-hour data and reduce risk while protecting your brand.