Cleaning Validation and Disinfectant Efficacy

According to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) regulations…

FoodFocus Article – Guide to Salmonella serotyping

Salmonellosis, caused by specific Salmonellastrains…

Great communication saves time and makes money.

At SMT LABS our Key Account Managers (KAM) visit their clients regularly. We believe it builds a trustworthy relationship, keeps us aware of our clients’ needs and creates the opportunity for growth. Please read the discussed documents carefully and discuss it with your KAM at your next meeting.




Sample submission form


Please start using the updated form as soon as possible.
All samples collected/received shall be accompanied with a completed and signed submission form.

Terms & Conditions


We have updated our Terms and conditions to better stipulate our agreement with our clients.  Please read it carefully and ask your KAM about anything unclear.

Customer take-on form


This document is an exceptional way of communicating your precise needs to us.This document needs to be updated yearly.  Your Key Account Manager will make an appointment with you to fill it out.

Non disclosure agreement


Please read through our Non disclosure agreement and send the completed form to your KAM.

Important notification

In the case where no submission form is received, the client will be notified.  SMT LABS will wait for a response from the client before testing commences and this may influence the turn around time of testing

In the case where fields in the “To be completed by the client block” are not completed, the procedure above will also be followed.

Should any discrepancies be detected with the samples or submission form the client will be informed.  Issues regarding the samples must be resolved before processing in the lab may start.

January news

Dear ally in Food Safety,

SMT LABS hopes 2019 is a year of great happiness and success for you and your company. Have a wonderful new year!
We have some important news to share with you, which will save you time, improve the quality of your products and better the service we provide to you.

SMT LABS (Pty) Ltd. are microbiological laboratories situated in Bloemfontein and Johannesburg. SMT LABS (Pty) Ltd. was established in August 2013 by Shirleen and Bernd Theisinger. Shirleen is a PhD candidate in Microbiology and gained her knowledge and experience as a microbiologist by working in various kinds of food laboratories. Bernd Theisinger is the financial and operational director.

Our vision is to grow into a top performing company in microbiological testing in South Africa. We focus on excellent customer satisfaction, constantly strive to improve all our standards and attempt to limit the laboratory’s impact on the environment.  We incorporate the latest technologies and newest testing methods to guarantee accurate results. We ensure that the products we test meet the customer’s and regulatory requirements.

Our Unique Selling Points

SMT LABS JHB is now accredited and is situated in Randburg.  SMT LABS BFN have extended their scope of tests at the end of 2018.  See the SMT LABS comprehensive list of tests below.

Please contact your Key Account Manager to make sampling arrangements for January.
If you are a new client, please contact Rozanne at or 051 880 0102.

Sample size guideline

SMT LABS continuously aspire to deliver your test results as soon as possible. To avoid unnecessary delays, please abide by the following instructions:


It is very important that we receive the completed Sample Submission Form (attached), with clear written testing instructions and your supporting purchase order. These documents have to accompany your samples, when delivered to our laboratories in order to avoid any unnecessary delays. It is also a mandatory SANAS (ISO 17025) requirement that we receive clear and explicit instructions from all clients as well as supporting documents.  We strive to register all samples on the day of receipt, however this may not always be possible if samples are received after 15:00.

Sample sizes:

Our test methods require a specific quantity of the sample to be tested. If we do not receive a sufficient quantity of the sample, we unfortunately cannot conduct the tests required.  See our SMT-R-94 Sample Size Guideline

For more important information to register a client profile and submit samples go to New clients

We thank you in advance for your assistance in this regard.

Test today, improve tomorrow!

SMT LABS comments on the Salmonella outbreak in KZN

Quick facts

  • Contrary to popular belief, Salmonella is not only associated with chicken and fish.
  • Although contaminated foods are usually from animal origin, such as poultry, pork, raw milk and eggs, other foodstuffs (e.g. vegetables and fruit juices) may also be contaminated.
  • One would think that the shell of an egg is the perfect barrier to ensure that Salmonella does not enter the egg, however in some cases infected chickens produce eggs that contain Salmonella even before the shell is formed.
  • Interestingly, some outbreaks have previously been traced back to contaminants in spices!
  • Contamination of foodstuffs does not necessarily occur due to contact with animal feces or contaminated water, but can also originate from infected individuals that do not wash their hands after using the bathroom and then handles the foodstuffs in production and/or packing facilities.


Why is Salmonella dangerous?

Salmonella causes salmonellosis and in some cases typhoid fever (only caused by certain strains of Salmonella). Common symptoms of salmonellosis are headaches, fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and cramps. These symptoms may appear as early as 12 – 96 hours after infection. With the correct treatment, salmonellosis may be resolved within 5 – 7 days. It can however cause more serious infections in infants, the elderly and individuals with a compromised immune system.

Top Tips

1. In the warmer months of summer, Salmonella flourishes and special care should be taken to keep the cold chain of your raw materials and final products in order to avoid increased numbers of bacteria.

2. SMT LABS can help you with regular testing of your products to ensure outbreaks are prevented fast and effectively.

3. SMT LABS can test various matrices to identify the source of contamination in your facility, including surface swabs, hand swabs, boot swabs, rectum swabs, fluff, animal feed, water and food products.

4. SMT LABS turnaround time for Salmonella testing is 3-5 days.

5. Prevention is better than cure – test today, improve tomorrow!

Extension of scope

We are proud to announce exciting news!

For detailed information go to Tests or download our SMT LABS SANAS accreditation certificate- 20181113

SMT LABS have expanded 
We have opened a branch in Randburg, Johannesburg. We are still awaiting accreditation and are offering our services unaccredited at this stage. An extensive list of microbiology tests will be available at the JHB branch.Address: Unit B5 Strijdom Industrial Park, 17 Hammer Road, Randburg, 2194
Rozanne SMT LABS Marketing Manager 083 411 0935 
Carol Key Accounts Manager JHB 066 312 0313


SMT LABS Bloemfontein will be acredited for additional tests
From 1 November 2018 SMT LABS BFN will be accredited for these tests:
  • We are 1 of ONLY a few labs accredited in SA for testing Salmonella spp. on the following matrices: Animal Feed, Boot swabs, Rectum swabs, Fluff.
  • We are 1 of ONLY a few labs accredited in SA for testing Listeria monocytogenes in water. Listeria monocytogenes is known to create biofilms in water and if present it can contaminate other areas.
  • We are 1 of ONLY a few labs in SA accredited for testing Pseudomonas aeruginosa: Swabs, Water, Food.
  • We are 1 of ONLY a few labs in SA accredited for Campylobacter spp.: Detection & EnumerationCampylobacter spp. are the major group of bacteria responsible for foodborne gastroenteritis and we encourage clients to test it more often.
  • We are proud to add Faecal Coliforms to our scope.
Accredited Total Plate Count on contact paddles –
The first in SA!

In the past there were no laboratories in SA accredited for Total plate count (TPC) on a contact paddle (CP). We are the ONLY lab in SA that is accredited at this stage. This might lead to major changes in the cleaning industry once this news breaks.
This method is cost effective and our turn-around time from receipt at our lab is 48 hours.This can’t be matched by another lab as yet.

How efficient is your cleaning chemicals?

SMT LABS BFN is the ONLY lab accredited for chemical efficacy, testing six different main ingredients in cleaning chemicals. Our turn-around time is 10 working days.

Clients in the food industry are welcome to test the efficacy of their cleaning chemicals at three different dilutions and on different surfaces.  We also offer this service to cleaning companies that want to update their Certificate of Analysis (COA’s) to give them an edge in the market.

There are two methods available:

EN1276: Chemical efficacy

This method tests:
The efficacy of a chemical against bacteria

Compulsory organisms (fixed package) that must be tested to deem a chemical efficient for cleaning:
  • Escherichia coli
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Enterococcus hirae
  • Staphylococcus aureus
Optional organisms, that is industry specific, that can be added to test list:
  • Salmonella sp.
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Escherichia coli O157

EN13697: Chemical efficacy

This method tests:
The efficacy of a chemical against bacteria on working surfaces

Compulsory organisms (fixed package) that must be tested to deem a chemical efficient for cleaning:
  • Escherichia coli
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Enterococcus hirae
  • Staphylococcus aureus
 Optional organisms, that is industry specific, that can be added to test list:
  • Salmonella sp.
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Escherichia coli O157
  • Aspergillus brasiliensis
  • Candida albicans
Additional surfaces can be tested on
  • Stainless steel accredited
  • Others not accredited
To book a chemical efficacy test, contact Rozanne at or your current Key Account Manager.  We will supply you with a sample submission form. Please supply SMT LABS with as much detail as possible and we will come back to you with a quotation.

Bioaerosols in the Food and Beverage Industry

This month we are featuring an exert from the book: Ideas and Applications Toward Sample Preparation for Food and Beverage Analysis. 

This chapter was written by Shirleen M. Theisinger (MD SMT LABS) and Olga de Smidt (Lecturer at CUT). It was also published by:  World’s largest Science, Technology & Medicine, Open Access book publisher

Bioaerosols in the Food and Beverage Industry

Bioaerosol monitoring is a rapidly emerging area of industrial hygiene. Microbial roles in atmospheric processes are thought to be species specific and potentially depend on cell viability. Accumulating evidence suggests that exposure to bioaerosols may cause adverse health effects, including disease. Studies of bioaerosols have primarily focused on chemical composition and biological composition, and the negative effects thereof on ecosystems and human health have largely gone unnoticed. This gap can be attributed to international standards on acceptable maximum bioaerosol loads not being uniform and the lack of uniform standardized methods for collection and analysis of bacterial and fungal bioaerosols. In this chapter, bioaerosol composition, relevance of bioaerosols to the food processing facility, sampling and detection approaches, and complications were discussed.

Airborne particles and bioaerosols are easily transported, transferred and displaced from one environment to the other. Complex mixtures of bioaerosols such as fungi, allergens, and bacteria along with nonbiological particles (e.g., dust, smoke, particles generated by cooking, organic, and inorganic gases) are contained in indoor environments [34]. The bioaerosols and their components could pose an environmental hazard when presented in high concentrations in indoor environments, resulting in spoilage/contamination of food products or occupational health risks [35].

3.1. Food product–related risk: spoilage or contamination

Before spoilage becomes obvious, microbes have begun the process of breaking down food molecules for their own metabolic needs, resulting in a variety of sensory cues such as off-colors,off-odors, softening of fruits and slime. Firstly, the sugars are easily digested carbohydrates, then plant pectins are degraded, and proteins are attacked and produce volatile compounds with characteristic smells such as amines, ammonia, and sulfides. Early detection of spoilage would be advantageous in reducing food loss because there may be interventions that could halt or delay deterioration. Several methods for determining concentrations of spoilage microbes or volatile compounds produced by spoilage microbes have been devised. Many of these methods are considered insufficient as they are time consuming and/or do not give constant, reliable results and are labor intensive [31].

Food can also be contaminated by the presence of harmful chemicals and microbes which can cause illness when consumed. For this reason, traceability and source determination of contamination remain a relevant topic in food preservation research [36]. Bioaerosols implicated in respiratory-associated hazards have received much attention, but the potential of foodassociated microbes and food-borne pathogens in bioaerosols to cause food spoilage needs to be clarified. Evidence exists that pathogenic microbes are found in the air, and that these microbes are present in certain products. However, traceable evidence of bioaerosols as the causative agent of spoilage or contamination of food products is not readily available.

3.2. Food handler-related risk: occupational health

Exposure to higher risks of biological hazards is characteristic to certain industries such as health care, agriculture, fishery, some food industries, construction, and mining. Workers employed in these industries have higher prevalence of respiratory diseases and airway inflammation [37]. It is difficult to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of personal bioaerosol exposure in occupational or indoor environments [38], owed to the complex composition of bioaerosols, and the lack of standardized sampling/analysis methods [37]. Without appropriate personal exposure assessment and standardized sampling/analysis methods, establishing dose relationships and relevant exposure guidelines are difficult.

Exposure to bioaerosols in the occupational environment is associated with a wide range of health effects including infectious diseases, acute toxic effects, allergies, and cancer. These possibilities have been studied for the last 20 years; several cases of pulmonary cancers were reported in workers exposed to aflatoxins via respiratory route [39, 40]. In Denmark, an increase in the risk of liver cancer has been reported for workers exposed to aflatoxins in concerns processing livestock feed [41]. Larsson and coworkers [42] have also shown that asymptomatic dairy farmers exposed to airborne mold dust may have signs of immunostimulation and inflammation in their alveolar space. Farmers exposed to mold dust may exhibit signs of alveolitis [42], and severe toxic irritative reactions can occur after a single inhalation of high levels of spores [43]. Studies have suggested that inhalation exposure to mold spores
is another cause of organic dust toxic syndrome [44]. Occupational biohazards of biological origin are grouped into (1) occupational diseases of the respiratory tract and skin caused by allergenic/and or toxic agents forming bioaerosols, and (2) agents causing zoonoses and other infectious diseases spread through various exposure vectors [45].

The following questions summarize important aspects to address when planning a bioaerosol monitoring approach and can be used as guidelines.

Why sample? 

Formulate the objectives for sampling clearly. It is important to establish whether sampling bioaerosols is necessitated by baseline monitoring for compliance or to confront an existing quality (product) and/or safety (food handler health) problem for which bioaerosols as causative agent need to be ruled out.

Where to sample? 

The notion of sampling before doing a critical assessment of the facility is a current shortcoming. This approach can even be misleading because it produces information that is difficult to interpret, might create unnecessary concern, and may lead almost inevitably to the sampling having to be repeated professionally/by external consultants. Foci for the assessment should include environmental factors, factory design/layout, equipment, product type, and food handlers (health, shifts/placement, skills level, training, behavior) [76]. Certain
environmental factors such as temperature, airflow, and relative humidity can be associated with bioaerosol levels [104]. Heating, air-conditioning, or ventilating systems may provoke fluctuations in temperature and relative humidity. Detectable bacterial and fungal levels can also be affected by these factors, since they require specific environmental conditions to grow and propagate. Sampling sites to consider include areas with negative air pressure, raw material area where a lot of dust is generated, under air vents, areas where water spraying or misting can occur, active floor drains and areas with higher worker activity or other movement.

Which bioaerosol component to measure? 

Information from the evaluation/investigation should be able to establish which bioaerosol component is of interest: viable microbial components (culture dependent) or nonviable but still bioactive (culture independent) component. Although culture-dependent methods are by far the most widely used procedures for assessing the microbiological content of bioaerosols (Table 1); it is now widely accepted that such methods significantly underestimate the total quantity of microbes present. Plate count media describe the well-known problem that only a small fraction (10%) of airborne microbes forms colonies on a typical culture media, thus leading to a significant underestimation of the actual viable airborne bioaerosol concentration. The vast remaining number of airborne microbes can be described as viable but nonculturable, indicating very low metabolic activity or resting dormant state. Dead airborne bacteria or fungi debris or toxins retain their allergenic or toxic properties and are therefore also relevant to any occupational health assessment.

Which air sampler to use?

Impingement sampling devices (Table 5) can be used to detect both viable and nonviable bioaerosol components. Either viable or nonviable components can be assessed using impaction (Table 4) or filtration (Table 6), respectively. Choosing a sampling device will also depend on availability, level of expertise and funding.

How often and when to sample? 

In a new program for compliance monitoring, it is advisable to start with more frequent data collection as this will allow for baseline establishment.  When the data are available to show that the bioaerosols in a system/area are stable enough, the number of data collection points can be reduced. Microbial results can differ depending on the activity in a specific area. Sampling times should include both “dynamic” and “static” conditions monitoring.

LIMS – Laboratory Information Management System

The question you might be asking; “What is LIMS and how can it make my life easier”

A Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) is software that allows you to effectively manage samples and associated data. By using a LIMS, your lab can automate workflows, integrate instruments, and manage samples and associated information. Additionally, you can produce reliable results more quickly and can track data from sequencing runs over time and across experiments to improve efficiency.

Modern genomics generates an unprecedented amount of data. Faced with increasing data volumes and sample throughput along with frequent changes in technology, labs must modernize their approach to managing, tracking, and centralizing genomics data.

That is exactly why SMT LABS are implementing it: 

  • Minimising human error and admin
  • Maximising our level of service
  • Giving more attention to our relationship with our clients
  • To provide a trend analysis to our clients on different tests, products and times of the year.

New Amies Gel Swab facts