Microorganisms in the Food Industry
When I was still relatively new to the industry, I worked with one of the processed meat facilities that made hotdogs, sliced luncheon meats and cooked sausage. While going through the plant one day, one of the department Ops Managers was having a discussion with a FSQA Tech about a square of seasoned meat that had been found in a corner of the cooler. It was about 3 days past the date they should have used it and the Tech wanted to dispose of it because of concerns about spoilage or rancidity. The response from the Ops Manager was, “if it don’t stink, stuff it”!
A team of Managers, including Ops and FSQA, met to conduct an assessment of the situation and it was indicated that the length of time that stored squares of meat could be held was determined by prior generic micro and sensory evaluations. Thus, the decision was made to discard the material based on the science and risk-based evaluation. However, it did also identify a challenge within the facility regarding the process for assuring that stored materials were used within their allotted timeframe to assure safety and quality of product and to prevent loss of productivity and materials.
In Chapter 3 of the book Food Plant Sanitation, entitled “Microorganisms of Food Manufacturing Concern”, the types of organisms and their environmental needs are reviewed. Knowing this can aid in determinations about your safety and quality programs.”
“If it don’t stink, stuff it.”!!!
– This is the sub-heading of the third chapter of Food Plant Sanitation. The Chapter is entitled “Microorganisms of Food Manufacturing Concern”
– Not all microorganisms are of concern to food manufacturers, but thought a like this “anonymous food plant employee” is a concern
– Microorganisms are biological entities that have been on earth longer than humans
– Microorganisms have different environmental needs for temperature, moisture even oxygen
– Microorganisms can be beneficial, can spoil food or can cause human illness
Understanding the types of microorganisms that may be in your facility, associated with your ingredients, your environment or of concern to your finished products help you to understand the cleaning and sanitizing chemicals and processes you will employ as well as other intervention strategies needed for safe food production
Ensuing slides from Chapter 3 will help you to better understand the role of microorganisms in the food industry and help you to respond to the “dinosaurs” who believe that they can tell food safety or quality by sniffing alone!