13 December 2021
The Pioneer recall of selected nut products triggered this piece.
This material is extracted from Anelich Consulting’s training material on “Infectious Foodborne Pathogens”, “Microbiological Criteria” and “Developing an Effective Environmental Monitoring Programme”.
Please note: this information is copyrighted to Anelich Consulting.
It has been well-known for several decades that Salmonella is able to survive for extended periods of time in nuts and other products that are low in moisture, even if it is unable to grow in such foods. Besides nuts, some other examples where Salmonella has either resulted in recalls or outbreaks are herbal teas, dried milk powder, desiccated coconut, chocolate, spices, dry cereals, powdered infant formulae and more. Where contaminated ingredients are used and where there is no “kill step” further in the process, the organism survives and thus contaminates the final product. Such an example is contaminated peanuts which are used to manufacture peanut butter. The end-product is therefore also contaminated, as there is no “kill step” further along in the manufacturing process for peanut butter.
One of the more significant characteristics of contamination of LMF by Salmonella, is that very low levels are enough to cause disease.
End-product testing of such products for Salmonella has several limitations. Sole reliance on such testing is therefore ineffective in providing some level of assuredness that the organism is not present, even if products tested negative for the presence of Salmonella. Furthermore, the current common use by many South African food companies, is to test 1 sample per batch, as the move to using modern microbiological criteria is lagging behind many regions of the world. Statistics show clearly how such testing is flawed and that there is a significant probability that defective product is released into the market.
Things are changing though. At regulatory level in SA, even if unrelated to this specific topic, SANS 885 Edition 4 (Ready to eat processed meat products), now out for public comment, contains a modern approach to food safety and process hygiene criteria, using appropriate microbiological criteria recommended by Anelich Consulting.
For more information on Salmonella in LMF and/or training on “Foodborne Pathogens” including Toxigenic and Infectious Foodborne Pathogens, “Setting Appropriate Microbiological Criteria” and “Developing an Effective Environmental Monitoring Programme”, click here for enquiries. These and all other courses offered by Anelich Consulting can be tweaked to suit the particular company’s needs. If we don’t have a course you are looking for, contact us and let’s chat!
Copyright 13 December 2021 Anelich Consulting. Using this information in any way without express permission and acknowledgement of the author is strictly forbidden.