Relevance of microbial finished product testing in food safety management

Marcel H. Zwietering, Liesbeth Jacxsens, Jeanne Marie Membré, Maarten Nauta, Mats Peterz

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Abstract

Management of microbiological food safety is largely based on good design of processes, products and procedures. Finished product testing may be considered as a control measure at the end of the production process. However, testing gives only very limited information on the safety status of a food. If a hazardous organism is found it means something, but absence in a limited number of samples is no guarantee of safety of a whole production batch. Finished product testing is often too little and too late. Therefore most attention should be focussed on management and control of the hazards in a more pro-active way by implementing an effective food safety management system. For verification activities in a food safety management system, finished product testing may however be useful. For three cases studies; canned food, chocolate and cooked ham, the relevance of testing both of finished products and the production environment is discussed. Since the level of control of different processes can be largely different it is beneficial if the frequency of sampling of finished products and production environments would be related to the associated human health risk, which can be assessed on the basis of risk assessment and epidemiological data.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFood Control
Volume60
Pages (from-to)31-43
Number of pages13
ISSN0956-7135
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Food Science
  • Biotechnology
  • Microbiological food safety
  • Sampling
  • Verification

Cite this

Zwietering, Marcel H. ; Jacxsens, Liesbeth ; Membré, Jeanne Marie ; Nauta, Maarten ; Peterz, Mats. / Relevance of microbial finished product testing in food safety management. In: Food Control. 2016 ; Vol. 60. pp. 31-43.
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Relevance of microbial finished product testing in food safety management. / Zwietering, Marcel H.; Jacxsens, Liesbeth; Membré, Jeanne Marie; Nauta, Maarten; Peterz, Mats.

In: Food Control, Vol. 60, 2016, p. 31-43.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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AB - Management of microbiological food safety is largely based on good design of processes, products and procedures. Finished product testing may be considered as a control measure at the end of the production process. However, testing gives only very limited information on the safety status of a food. If a hazardous organism is found it means something, but absence in a limited number of samples is no guarantee of safety of a whole production batch. Finished product testing is often too little and too late. Therefore most attention should be focussed on management and control of the hazards in a more pro-active way by implementing an effective food safety management system. For verification activities in a food safety management system, finished product testing may however be useful. For three cases studies; canned food, chocolate and cooked ham, the relevance of testing both of finished products and the production environment is discussed. Since the level of control of different processes can be largely different it is beneficial if the frequency of sampling of finished products and production environments would be related to the associated human health risk, which can be assessed on the basis of risk assessment and epidemiological data.

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