Any tools and surfaces that come into contact with produce must be cleaned and sanitised. This is a critical process to prevent any cross contamination to other produce.
Sanitation with hot water is commonly used to clean tools and surfaces, but this is not always effective at preventing cross-contamination of pathogens which can spoil multiple batches. To ensure effective food safety, chemical disinfection is preferred.
If disinfection is not properly executed it is likely that biofilm will grow on the surface. Biofilm is a collection of microorganisms, mainly bacteria, growing together in a matrix of polymers secreted by the microorganisms. Once biofilms are formed, cleaning and sanitation is more difficult and the likelihood of cross-contamination is increased.
The most widely used sanitiser is chlorine, although other sanitisers such as PAA may be used. Chlorine can be affected by pH, temperature and organic load, but is less affected by water hardness which has an important on the effectiveness of quaternary ammonium.
There are several ways to measure for sanitiser levels, depending on the chemical in use. When sanitising with chlorine, the test method should be focusing on free chlorine to determine the effectiveness of sanitising properties.
Kemio technology is the most effective method for determining sanitizer levels, purposefullly designed for food and beverage applications. With Kemio Disinfection you can get accurate in-field measurements of chlorine, chlorine dioxide and PAA.
There are a series of regulations associated with acceptable sanitizer concentrations for produce washing. It is always advised to check your local regulations to ensure you are fully compliant.
In all food and beverage processing facilities, accurately measuring sanitizers in a requirement which will be enforced by local regulations and the produce buyers who will conduct auditing procedures. Kemio helps to deliver full compliance with full traceability of all sanitiser data, find out more here.
21 CFR 173.315 states that peracetic acid concentrations must not exceed 80 ppm for fruits and vegetables that are not raw agricultural commodities. Rinsing with potable water is not required to remove residual PAA.
Raw agricultural commodities are generally defined by 21 U.S. Code § 321 as “any food in its raw or natural state, including all fruits that are washed, coloured, or otherwise treated in their unpeeled natural form prior to marketing”.
In poultry processing, the USDA-FSIS requires broiler carcasses to be chilled to less than 4⁰C within 4, 6 or 8 hours of slaughter depending on carcass size. Immersion chilling is commonly used to achieve this as it effectively lowers the total microbial load on the birds whilst cooling the carcass.
For the full list of regulations, please see the advice directly from the US FDA.
Disinfectants are applied to meat products during processing to reduce microbial contaminants, such as salmonella, which can occur during rearing or harvest. These processes are often called microbial intervention, direct intervention or pathogen reduction treatments – and all are banned within the European Union.
Industry bodies within the European Union argue that, whist safe to human health, the use of chemical disinfectants at the abattoir can encourage poorer hygiene practice at the farm during rearing of the animal and at point of harvest. It is claimed that a more holistic ‘farm to fork’ approach can achieve safe meat products without the need for chemical disinfection.
For the full list of regulations, please see the advice directly from the European Union.
Check standards are used to determine if an instrument is still within calibration.
Photometers work by sending light through the sample, check standards for these instruments are usually either Coloured Solutions or Neutral Density Filters (NDF). Both types have known and certified transmittance or absorbance values so they should give these values when read in a photometer. To make the checking process even simpler some instruments will convert these to a parameter such as chlorine and give the value mg/L. The ‘target’ value is on the certificate supplied with the set of Check Standards.
Kemio and sensor instrument check standards verify that the instrument correctly measures electric signals. As with electrochemical sensors in samples, the instrument applies a voltage to the check standard and measures the resulting current. Check standards include verified resistors, which produce a consistent electric current. Kemio validates the measured current internally. Sensor instruments display the corresponding concentration value, which is compared manually to target values on the certificate supplied with the set of check standards. Check standard kits come with four standards to test across the measurement range.
Kemio is IP67 rated but it should be kept clean and dry to avoid bacteria build-up. Use non-abrasive cloths and non-aggressive detergents if necessary. Be sure to dry the contacts under the front lid if wet and keep the sample vessel holding area clean.
Rinse the sample vessel between uses and clean it more thoroughly occasionally to reduce the risk of cross contamination between tests.
Kemio is a multi-parameter instrument. Each batch of sensors has its unique batch calibration information. Scanning the sensor allows Kemio to select the correct test type and use the specific batch information. Using the correct batch is imperative to ensure the accuracy of your results.
To perform additional tests using a sensor from the same batch, you can select ‘retest’ after performing a test. Alternatively, you can change your scanning settings from Configuration > Settings > Test Settings > Scanner Settings.