Evidence of Biofilm
Per Michael Cramer, “What are the means by which you can determine if you have a biofilm and once you know, how do you remove and prevent recurrence? Conditions for formation may be suspected during pre-op inspection based on organoleptic findings or increases in ATP results, then may be confirmed with the use of chemical indicator gel. You may also find a general increase in generic micro testing results or environmental positives as well as a decrease in refrigerated shelf life of product.”
What are some of the ways that you can determine that you have biofilm formation on equipment or parts?
– Organoleptic = there may be visual presence, “rainbow appearance” on clean surfaces; slimy feeling or off-odor may be indicators that organic material is not removed and may provide an adhesion layer
– Chemical = sanitation chemical suppliers have indicator gel that can provide visual confirmation, ATP can also be employed to determine if there is an increase in the presence of organic material
– Microbiological = sudden changes in generic or environmental testing of product surfaces of finished product can be an indicator that biofilm is present and releasing organisms
– Shelf life/spoilage = reduction in shelf life of retained samples or increase in customer complaints of spoilage of product before the expiration date may indicate organisms are being released on equipment
As these signs are observed, it is important to verify the presence of biofilm then implement sanitation strategies to remove the film as well as practices to prevent re-formation after removal