Pathogens occur naturally in the environment and can be introduced into a food facility in a variety of ways such as raw ingredients, employees, and pests. It is critical to set up and maintain an Environmental Monitoring Program (EMP), as described by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
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The EMP should focus on obtaining a representative microbiological sampling of high risk areas for indicator organisms and/or pathogens. A robust EMP, with appropriately designated sampling areas can be a powerful tool in determining overall effectiveness of cleaning and sanitation procedures. It should be designed to help the facility minimize regulatory and quality risks. The EMP can also be an aid in narrowing the focus to the most likely potential sources of contamination for immediate corrective action implementation.