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 in real time, enabling them to 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?
Bactiscan works on the fringes of the UV spectrum, it is a system that is designed to detect protein shell around the bacteria and isolate biofilms that are not visible with U.V. and this is proven with validation documentation provided by Campden BRI
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 recommend that you 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 surfaces, proving accuracy. This process has been validated by Campden BRI
How safe is the equipment that you will use for the tests?
Bactiscan uses lightweight battery operated electronic sensors and transmitters to illuminate a surface.
What safety steps should I take whilst using Bactiscan?
We recommend that the inspector wear adequate eye protection in the form of protective glasses whilst using Bactiscan. Most production facilities will have safety glasses in situ. Safety glass lenses made of polycarbonate will naturally block 99.9% of UV light. So, even clear safety glasses will provide excellent protection. However should you require specific UV protection, a simple on-line search will provide a list of suppliers in their area.
How much downtime is needed for the Bactiscan test?
In most instances downtime is not required as long as the surface can be illuminated by Bactiscan. Bactiscan is able to examine an empty silo for example in approximately 30 minutes.
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.