Published: 08/06/22 11:33 Categories: Microbiology
The salmonella outbreak that occurred at the factory of a brand of chocolate products for children in early 2022 highlighted the urgent need to establish, monitor and continuously evaluate food safety measures.
To date, this Salmonella outbreak has affected 150 people across nine European countries and the UK.
Safety throughout the food chain
The causal agent of the outbreak is a monophasic variant of Salmonella typhimurium. It was detected in the circuits through which butter circulated to manufacture these chocolate products aimed at children. Salmonella is capable of forming biofilms and adhering to certain surfaces, which makes it difficult to control, thus requiring comprehensive measures to keep it at bay.
When we talk about microbiological control in the food industry, the first thing that comes to mind is the microbiological control of the end product; however, it is necessary to carry out microbiological controls along the entire food chain to ensure the innocuity of the food and to guarantee its safety.
These controls focus on what are known as critical control points. These are the stages of the food manufacturing or transformation process in which there is a risk of contamination that is not resolved at a later stage of the food chain, and which will therefore be present in the end product.
Due to the importance of controlling these critical points, it is necessary to perform microbiological controls on the intermediate products of the manufacturing process, as well as on the machines, utensils, and surfaces that may come into contact with the food.
Surfaces are a source of contamination that must be controlled in the food industry, especially those that come into contact with food.
How is the microbiological control of surfaces performed?
The best way to carry out this microbiological control on surfaces is using Rodac plates, used to collect samples directly from the surface to be analyzed.