As a customer, what do you do with your environmental results? Many of you have your own processes and quality procedures but are you using your results to effectively ensure your sanitation is working?
During one of my first experiences being audited while working in the food manufacturing world I was asked by the auditor “Is your sanitation program controlling pathogens during the entire production run?”. I immediately responded with a boastful yes! The auditor of course followed up with “Please prove it.” Being relatively new, I temporarily froze as I knew our product results never yielded a positive in my time there but, was fairly certain that was not sufficient proof. Thankfully, I received a quick education as my supervisor presented the auditor with our environmental monitoring results which included pre-operational, operational, and post operational time points. Each sampling time verified something slightly different and was evidence our sanitation program did indeed control pathogens through the entirety of our production runs. The key take-away for me was that an environmental monitoring program must take into consideration when to sample and what each sampling time’s results mean within your Food Safety System.
Have you ever seen or added liquid in your environmental sampling devices and questioned what is it, why is it there, or if all the liquid is the same? I know when I began in food manufacturing and took my first samples, these were questions that arose for me and how these factors were impacting the results. The simple answer is that this liquid is called neutralizing broth and there are multiple types that act differently to protect the sample taken.
A while back as I talked with a manufacturer that was required by their customer to have an environmental monitoring program, they had expressed their confusion in their customer’s response when they shared their monitoring results. The manufacturer was proud to present 3 years’ (the entirety of their program) worth of data in which they never once had a positive result for the target bacteria. The manufacturer thought they had been doing an amazing job while their customer was less than confident with their results. The customer knew that given the manufacturers environment and required sanitation it was highly unlikely to never have a positive result, not because the manufacturer wasn’t taking care but, because of the ubiquitous nature of bacteria. Ultimately, the customer felt that the manufacturer was not sampling the most likely growth areas in their facility and was therefore missing the bacteria.
As I scroll through Facebook I occasionally see posts challenging the reader to find the correct answer to a relatively simple mathematical equation. While we can look at it and say there must be only one correct answer, there are typically a variety of different answers in the comments below. Are those people responding unable to add, subtract, multiply, and divide? Possibly, but more commonly they forget simple rules called the order of operations. Simply put conduct the math functions in order parentheses, exponents, multiply, divide, add, and then subtract.
Just as important as our post last year regarding maintaining the highest level of sample integrity - it's time to revisit these critical sample shipping reminders!
Summer = sunshine +hot weather + “hopeful” vacations! While this is a likely equation, our teams at Cherney have been noticing some reoccurring issues with incoming samples in the past few weeks. While we have worked with customers directly, it also gives us the opportunity for a very relevant blog topic. The information shared below is CRITICALLY IMPORTANT to ensuring that the samples being submitted to the laboratory arrive in the best possible condition. This allows for two things: 1) superior sample integrity and 2) the generation of accurate test results.
It’s not a surprise to those that know me well that I enjoy playing in the outdoors in many ways. One of my favorite pastimes is spending time in the field with my “fur-babies”. My two dogs Reggie and Arlo, have fun but they also “work” hard pointing and retrieving birds in the field, they truly are athletes, and any serious athlete knows that a key to top performance is proper diet. As other avid pet lovers would agree, I would do mostly anything for them and when I see stories like this “Darwin’s Pet Food owner knew of pathogens in production plant” in my Social Media feed, it really makes me sad.