Safety Of Sous Vide Foods

Sous-vide is a cooking method in which vacuum packed meat is placed in a water bath. The meat is cooked for longer and at a lower temperature than normally used. The water temperature is kept typically around 55 to 60°C. The aim is to cook the item evenly, ensuring that the inside is properly cooked without overcooking the outside. This method maintains a lot of the moisture in the meat.

It should come as no surprise that the popularisation of sous-vide cooking has been met with a degree of suspicion with relation to food safety. The safety risk of cooking meat at low temperature has raised eyebrows with food safety inspectors.

Products cooked using the Sous vide practice are exposed to the same risks as other foods during preparation, cooking, cooling and reheating. These risks could lead to food poisoning and include;

·         Products held between 5°C–60°C for too long could allow harmful bacteria to grow.

·         Products stored at refrigerated temperatures for long periods could be at risk from bacteria such as Listeria monocytogenes, which is able to grow at low temperatures.

·         Products cooked at low temperatures for short periods could be undercooked and food poisoning bacteria may still be present in the food.

People using this technique have specialised equipment and monitoring tools that are suitable for the high level of control required. If there is any doubt as to the effectiveness of the control measures in place, then ATL can help. We are able to test the products cooked using the Sous vide method to see if there is a food safety risk post-cook. We can look for the presence of food poisoning bacteria like Salmonella and Listeria in our UKAS accredited laboratory.

Our testing can help to show if the exacting controls in place for sous-vide cooking are suitable for the safe production of the end product.

If this is a service that you require then please contact the Microbiology department to find out more.

The Food Standards Agency have worked with the Institute of Food Research to prepare a report regarding the food safety of Sous-Vide cooking. You can follow this link to access the report.

 

 

 

 

 

ATL is now certified for PAS 110 testing

ATL has been providing consultancy and feedstock testing for anaerobic digestion processes for some time.  The increasing need for regulation and assurance in the quality of results meant that a lengthy validation was required.  Now that this process is concluded, we are happy to announce that ATL is certified to carry out testing under the Biofertiliser Certification Scheme to the PAS 110:2014 standard.

From initial certification, consisting of 3 separate digestate samples from 3 different portions of the AD process, to routine monitoring, we can now provide a full in-house service for our customers.  In addition to the testing required under the BCS, we continue to offer tests for troubleshooting and evaluation purposes, including theoretical biogas yield and inhibition testing to assess quality and potential issues with input material.  Our on-site microbiology department offers testing accredited by UKAS to ISO 17025, and are a DEFRA-approved laboratory for ABPR samples.  Both departments operate under quality systems accredited by UKAS, which means your samples will be tested to the highest standards.

At whatever stage of the anaerobic digestion process, whether investigating suitable input material for your plant, to initial PAS 110 certification and continued monitoring, ATL can provide a service that is right for you.  Please contact us with your requirements and one of our team will be able to offer the right testing to suit your needs. 

 

Animal By-Product Samples. How much bacteria can your samples contain?

The Animal By-product regulation contains microbiological specifications for the maximum level of bacteria allowed in the samples. The specifications all use the following key;

n = number of samples to be tested

m = threshold value for the number of bacteria; the result is considered satisfactory if the number of bacteria in all samples does not exceed m

M = maximum value for the number of bacteria; the result is considered unsatisfactory if the number of bacteria in one or more samples is M or more

c = number of samples the bacterial count of which may be between m and M, the sample still being considered acceptable if the bacterial count of the other samples is m or less.

 

Salmonella

Animal Feed:

Your sample will fail if any sub-sample contains any Salmonella colonies

Compost & Digestate:

Your sample will fail if any sub-sample contains any Salmonella colonies

The specification is listed as follows;

Salmonella       n = 5; c = 0; m = 0; M = 0

 

Enterobacteriaceae

Animal Feed:

A sample of Raw Pet Food will fail if any of the sub-samples contains more than 5,000 Enterobacteriaceae colonies per gram. The sample will also fail if 3 or more sub-samples contain more than 10 Enterobacteriaceae colonies per gram

The specification is listed as follows;

Enterobacteriaceae:     n = 5, c = 2, m = 10, M = 5000 in 1 g

A sample of any other ABP product (including processed pet food) will fail if any of the sub-samples contains more than 300 Enterobacteriaceae colonies per gram. The sample will also fail if 3 or more sub-samples contain more than 10 Enterobacteriaceae colonies per gram

The specification is listed as follows;

Enterobacteriaceae:     n = 5, c = 2, m = 10, M = 300 in 1 g

 

Escherichia coli (E.coli)

Compost & Digestate:

Your sample will fail if any of the sub-samples contains more than 5,000 E.coli colonies per gram. The sample will also fail if 2 or more sub-samples contain more than 1,000 E.coli colonies per gram.

The specification is listed as follows;

Escherichia coli           n = 5; c = 1; m = 1000; M = 5000 in 1g

 

 

 

Animal By-Products – A Brief History of Testing

Animal by-products (ABPs) are materials of animal origin that are not fit for human consumption. Over 20 million tons of ABPs are created from slaughterhouses, food production factories and dairies each year across the European Union (EU).

ABPs can spread diseases and can be dangerous to animal and human health if not properly disposed of. EU rules regulate the movement, processing and disposal of ABPs. If you manufacture a product that contains animal by-products, such as animal carcasses or food waste, then it’s possible that you will need to use the services of a laboratory like Alliance Technical to check your products are microbiologically safe to use.

The “Animal By-Products (Enforcement) (England) Regulations 2013” which references the “Commission Regulation (EU) No. 142/2011 (implementing Regulation (EC) No. 1069/2009 of the European Parliament)” contains instructions for the testing of products containing ABPs.

You will need to have samples tested if you are producing;

·         Compost or Digestate from a composting or anaerobic digestate facility. These would be tested for Salmonella & E.coli.

·         Animal Feed from a petfood factory. These would be tested for Salmonella & Enterobacteriaceae.

Points to remember;

1)      The laboratory you choose must by UKAS accredited for the analysis required using the correct ISO standard methods.

2)      The laboratory can be DEFRA approved too but this is not a statutory requirement.

3)      Samples should be tested promptly on arrival at the laboratory.

4)      All ABP samples should be tested 5 times for Salmonella and 5 times for either E.coli or Enterobacteriaceae as required.

5)      The laboratory must use methods that reference the following standards;

a.       Salmonella using ISO 6579:2002+A1:2007 and

b.      Enterobacteriaceae using ISO 21528-2:2004 or   

c.       E.coli using ISO16649-2:2001

The laboratory method reference on the report can be cross referenced via the laboratory’s UKAS Schedule of Accreditation. From March 2011 no UKAS accredited or DEFRA approved laboratory should be using any other method than those listed above for ABP testing.

6)      All final reports should include the UKAS mark for the laboratory used.

Alliance Technical Laboratories (ATL) is UKAS accredited and DEFRA approved to test compost, digestate and animal feed samples. You can find our UKAS schedule and DEFRA approval certificates via our ‘downloads’ page. You can also find links there to the GOV.UK guidance on ABPs and a useful ATL guide "Laboratory Requirements for Testing of ABP".

ATL goes to the dogs

ATL had the opportunity to be amongst the estimated 160,000 visitors at the NEC in Birmingham for Crufts 2016. This year is the 125th anniversary of the show, with the first one being held at the Royal Agricultural Hall, Islington, in 1891. 

We were able to explore the 25 acre site and see some of the 22,000 dogs that are competing this year. We were also able to catch up with some customers both old and new, who were hard at work. We tried not to get in the way too much.

We wish all the pet food manufacturers who are exhibiting, a very successful weekend and we look forward to catching up with you later in the year to see how it went.

ADBA - UK AD & Biogas, 6-7th July, NEC Birmingham

On the 6th & 7th July 2016, ATL will be exhibiting once more at the NEC Birmingham for the annual UK AD & Biogas tradeshow. This is the seventh year that the show has been held in the UK and it remains the only show dedicated to AD, biogas and bioresources.

We are looking forward to seeing some familiar faces and potentially making some new acquaintances whilst we are there too. If you are interested in what ATL can do for you then please visit our stand (C101) and introduce yourself. We will be happy to see you then.