Why should we test our surface areas after CIP?
In order to comply with HACCP requirements, processors need to identify CCPs (Critical Control Points), and/or areas within their production plant that may cause product contamination/failure. Examination of surface areas after CIP (Clean in Place) is now possible using the unique Bactiscan system, allowing the processor to comply with due diligence.
How often should we examine the surface areas?
Stainless steel surfaces, some of which are positioned within the production area should be examined regularly, searching for areas of biofilm and bacterial growth caused by poor cleaning systems, spray ball faults for example, defects may occur at any time during production, or when the item is CIP cleaned, these areas may cause product contamination at any time, so examination as frequently as possible is recommended.
I have used traditional methods for validating my CIP, what is the best methodology now?
Scanning in real time using EIT International’s Bactiscan. This equipment enables the processor to clearly see the biofilms, enabling them take swabs of the area to identify bacteria numbers.
We have seen people using U.V. to try to look for biofilms, why not use U.V. instead of Bactiscan?
Our Bactiscan method is not a U.V. light, it is a system that is designed to detect and isolate biofilms that are not visible with U.V. and this is proven with supplied test piece.
If you detect biofilms in my plant, how do you quantify the results?
We have developed a quality standard for this purpose and also a detailed laser mapping system to isolate the defective areas for swabbing.
Is it correct that biofilms become hardened on the surface and cannot be washed off by CIP?
It is our experience that some biofilms are hidden behind a glass-like surface caused through continuous washing and chemical hardening and when swabs are taken, they are not detected with the swabbing technique. Bactiscan can highlight these regions and abrasive work is needed to remove the film in order to measure bacteria numbers. The danger for processors is that these films may become loose during production and release the biofilm into the product.
Where would your inspector look for these biofilms in my plant?
We would normally isolate a line and scan all areas within that line, so 100% surfaces that are in contact with products. For example, we recently checked a sterile water vessel as this was the final examination when searching for a contamination that had happened. The vessel had serious biofilms that were obviously releasing into the final rinse before the line was filled with product, contaminating the whole line.
What are the environmental issues with testing using Bactiscan?
EIT International’s Bactiscan system has electronic sensors that can be used for many years without any consumables, so extremely environmentally friendly and cost effective.
Can you prove accuracy of the test?
The Bactiscan equipment comprises of real time scanner and test piece to replicate biofilms and bacteria on stainless steel surfaces, proving accuracy.
How safe is the equipment that you will use for the tests?
Bactiscan uses lightweight battery operated electronic sensors and transmitters only. The inspector must wear adequate eye protection in the form of protective glasses for this product.
How much downtime is needed for the Bactiscan test?
Bactiscan is able to examine a silo for example in approximately 30 minutes.
Will your inspector be trained and qualified?
In accordance with our Quality Manual, all inspectors shall be trained in the use of the relevant test equipment and methodology, by way of annual training and qualification certification. Ask to see the inspector’s qualification certificate at any time.
Is your equipment calibrated and serviced regularly?
In accordance with EIT International’s ISO 9001 Accreditation, all test equipment is calibrated and serviced annually.
Would your test method find product residues on my filling machine?
Bactiscan is able to identify poorly cleaned areas of many surfaces including filling machines.