1Cost estimates of foodborne illnesses. Economic Research Service (ERS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  November 12, 2014
2The staggering financial cost of food poisoning [Infographic]. 
Paul Smith, Digitron.  December 11, 2014
        We have spent over 25 years working with a vast array of food processors from all over the world.  All that’s left after cGMPs, HACCP, SSOPs, Environmental and Finished Product Testing programs are the pathogens.  Deadly outcomes have manifested from well documented cleaned and sanitized production facilities.  After exhausting all current corrective actions, these recalls and outbreaks are still happening on a daily basis.

        Each process, environment and product has a unique microbiome. Pathogens existing in one facility may be completely different than any other.  Listeria, Salmonella, Clostridia, Campylobacter, E. coli, and many others may be your resident pathogen and is most likely unique in some way.  Maybe it is dependent upon the product you produce (Meat vs Leafy Greens), maybe it has become more resistant than you know; in either case, we can overcome the uniqueness.
 
         
 
        
Why do pathogens persist?

          Even with the best cleaning and sanitizing programs, the control of contamination by pathogenic microorganisms continues to be a problem for the food processing industry.  Product can be made under optimal conditions, using controlled ingredients, effective lethality steps (e.g., cooking), intervention strategies, and cleaning and sanitizing of equipment by the most careful and fully trained employee.  Nevertheless, these steps may be undone by a positive test for a pathogen performed by the company itself, a customer, or a governmental agency.  The process is then scrutinized, some or all equipment/environment is cleaned and sanitized again, and samples are analyzed for some suspected defect.  The results tend to dictate the next step…either continuing production or starting corrective actions again.  But this problem never goes away.  A few months later, the same defect is detected, hopefully by the companies own test-and-release program, corrective actions are again taken, product disposition is determined, and the process is repeated over and over and over again.    
 
          One major contributor to perpetual microbial defects is that some equipment is difficult or impossible to completely clean and sanitize. Thus, pathogens may colonize food product surfaces or other non-food contact surfaces, and aerosolize.  They may be detected during routine testing and screening of the food or the food production facility causing the company or the government to effectively shut down operations, and/or recall product from the market.  Even worse, if consumers are exposed to the food containing the pathogen, sickness or even death may occur.
 
The problem here is "biofilm." 
         
          Biofilm is a bacterial congregation matrix made up of carbohydrates, proteins, nucleic acids, and other components that facilitate gene regulation for communication, defense, and growth of said microorganism.  Some bacteria can produce a biofilm that protects them from their environment and helps them adhere to food equipment surfaces.  If a biofilm has developed, which it will, and if the biofilm contains a microbiological defect, which it will, then the probability of that biofilm perpetuating in the equipment and breaking off or aerosolizing into the food is almost certain.  Interfering or preventing this from occurring is crucial to producing a safe and wholesome food product.
 
          While many products are used to clean (detergent/surfactant) and sanitize (lethal agent) they are often difficult to use, mix, and apply.  If improperly used, these agents may not work, may be corrosive to equipment and toxic to employees, and may be a dangerous chemical hazard if they contaminate food.  At the very least the detergents and sanitizers are costly and may impart undesirable organoleptic changes in the food.  And there are many, many surfaces that can neither be cleaned nor sanitized in a food production facility.  These surfaces are, in many instances, harboring pathogens.

The Log10 Solution.

           We have had considerable success using probiotics to prevent and eliminate Salmonella and Listeria in foods and food processing environments.  To learn more about our products and services, please click on the buttons in the Header.

The Foodborne Pathogen Problem