Interesting fact to remember about a microorganism - Total Plate Count (TPC) covers a very wide spectrum of microorganisms. It is possible to have a high TPC count, yet a smaller or not detected count for more specific analysis, e.g. E. coli and Salmonella
Tips on sampling - TWWH. Trending and knowing What, Where and How you have sampled is extremely important.
Tip for the month - Accurate results is not an option it is the ONLY way for your quality system. You need to trust and know that you, as QM, is providing South Africa with the best product you can. South Africa deserves better. We deserve better. You deserve better.
Dr Shirleen Theisinger
Interesting test results – With cleaning efficacy testing the difference in log reduction when you add a surface to the equation (EN13697) and not just the microorganism against the chemical.
Interesting fact to remember about a microorganism – Microorganisms are more unique then you think, each type of microorganism prefers an unique environment, conditions and nutrition.
Tips on sampling – Do not do environmental sampling with the mind-set of showing good results to the auditor. Do your environmental sampling with the mind-set that you want to prevent recalls and food products contaminated with pathogens.
Tip for the month – We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them (Albert Einstein).
Dr Chantel Swart
Quality Manager (BFN)
Interesting test results – Chemical efficacy test results might surprise you, what is claimed is not always what is met!
Interesting fact to remember about a microorganism – Microbes are not here to satisfy our curiosity, they grow and evolve. Don’t be surprised if microbes don’t always act the way we think they should or like they did in the previous test!
Tips on sampling – Sample according to a detailed and effective schedule, taking into consideration the frequency of sampling, location of sampling, sampler competency and risk associated with the sample area.
Tip for the month – DO something about your out of spec results – there is no point to make an effort and then just leave it when out of spec results are received. Keep improving!
Quality Manager (JHB)
Interesting test results - Did you know that it is possible to have detected an organism in a food sample, but to have no counts when enumerated? When performing a detection test, we enrich the environment of the organism to ensure that it can grow to its maximum capacity, even if there was only a single colony to start with. When performing enumeration, we are only interested in the actual counts and don’t enrich the environment of the organism.
Interesting facts to remember about a microorganism - There are various types of microorganisms on Earth, and just like humans, each prefer its own environment and substances/nutrients for growth.
Tips on sampling - When sampling, remember to work as sterile as possible because microbial contamination is a big risk as it can affect the end results of your tests.
Tip for the month - When sending in samples for testing, always ensure that the samples are sealed appropriately to prevent cross contamination and are kept as cold as possible to prevent growth of the microorganisms, should there be any present in your sample.
Odelia van der Merwe
Technical Manager (JHB)
Interesting test results - When a pathogen is detected in drains, there is a high possibility that that pathogen is present elsewhere in the factory.
Interesting fact to remember about a microorganism - Salmonella is non-fastidious, which means it can multiply under various environmental conditions outside a living host.
Tips on sampling - Avoid cross contamination as much as possible to avoid undesirable results.
Tip for the month - If everything is done correctly from the beginning of a process, the end result will be rewarding.
Technical Manager (BFN)
Interesting test results - Not all bacteria are bad, that is why we use standards, like the SANS 241 Standard for water testing, to ensure that interesting test results are not always bad test results.
Interesting fact to remember about a microorganism - It is important to know that you cannot predict the behaviour of microorganisms. Even if we replicate the micro-environment in the lab, the results can still surprise us.
Tips on sampling - A clear sampling plan ensures time-effective and accurate sampling procedures. This, along with getting the samples to the lab as soon as possible, will ensure reliable and accurate results.
Tip for the month - Testing is better than guessing. Knowing the microbiological status of food gives you a head start in the race for Food Safety.
National Sales Manager
Tips on sampling - Always have enough sample material on hand when entering a facility to make sure you take enough and correct samples.
When you are not sure how to use any of the materials contact your KAM at SMT LABS, who can always assist with sampling.
Tip for the month - Trending of results is a great tool to assist in areas of concern. SMT LABS are a phone call away to assist.
Interesting test results – Where your clinical picture does not look contaminated, but the lab results shows signs of bacteria or growth and vice versa.
Interesting fact to remember about a microorganism – Different microorganisms require different temperatures for survival.
Tips on sampling – Make sure caution is applied when handling sampling kits to avoid contamination.