Cherney Blog: Inside The Petridish

Your blog resource for education, experience, and a good read!

Cherney Blog: Inside The Petridish

Your blog resource for education, experience, and a good read!

Matthew Fenske

Matthew Fenske has over 8 years of laboratory, quality and management experience in a variety of food safety roles. As Cherney’s Business Development Manager, Matthew engages with new and existing clients to determine the best solutions Cherney can provide to them. He has spent time in a feed and forage analytical laboratory (wet chemistry) setting and in quality assurance for one of the world’s largest food manufactures. Matt joined Cherney’s team as the Training Program Manager in May 2017 and has since become PQCI Certified for both Human and Animal Food.
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Recent Posts

Best Sample – Best Result: Environmental Sample Timing

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.

Best Sample – Best Result: Neutralizing Broths

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.

Best Sample-Best Result: Compositing Environmental Samples

To composite or not to composite? No, I am not trying to put a Shakespearean twist on this blog, but rather answer a question often asked when sending in environmental samples.

Best Sample-Best Result: EMP Sample Location

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.

Best Sample-Best Result: Environmental Sample Size

Before we dig into the best sample size to be taken, we must understand what type of testing will be conducted, qualitative or quantitative.

Do You Follow The Rules: Plate Counting

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.

Never Forfeit What Makes You Human

Growing up watching movies like Bicentennial Man I thought for sure by now (2018) we would each have a robot that would do our work for us.  They would earn an income so we could kick back and relax (Right?)  Are we there yet…no – so I’m forced to ask myself why?  The main reason I always come back to is with the human element missing, robots cannot learn and question what they are programmed to do. The capacity to question and improve is very unique in humans and what often sets us apart, not only from robots but, other animals as well.