Recalls because of microbial pathogens are becoming a major problem for those using nuts and seeds in their products.
There have been several high-profile incidents recently. This has resulted in considerable discussion within the sector regarding how best to manage the underlying problem of ineffective decontamination procedures.
Craig Leadley, New Products and Technologies Manager at Campden BRI, comments:
“Recent UK product recalls have included peanut butter snack bars, peppercorns, sesame seed paste, shelled nuts and seed mixes, all for the presence of Salmonella. In the USA in 2009 a large Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak was linked with peanut butter, and a very large recall of both peanut butter and associated products followed.
A range of commercially available decontamination systems exists, but there is little consensus on how to validate such systems, and limited knowledge regarding the response of food pathogens to heat inactivation when in a low water activity environment.”
A seminar (see http://www.campden.co.uk/microbial-decontamination-seminar.htm) to address these issues will take place on 11th March 2010 at Campden BRI, and will cover aspects such as nut and seed microbiology, and the root causes of previous outbreaks and product recalls. It will also include presentations from major suppliers of decontamination equipment.
This will complement our services in heat process validation, involving time-temperature indicators, thermocouples, and traditional heat penetration and temperature distribution studies, as well as a wealth of knowledge on microbial heat resistance.