Microbiology testing plans – development and review
Microbiology testing is an essential part of the monitoring, verification and validation of some HACCP plans. The factors determining the frequency of microbiology testing are many and various. These include legal and customer or, HACCP requirements and supplier monitoring. They may also include previous results at the site. For more information on microbiological hazards, click here.
Regular reviews of the testing plan are recommended and amendments made to the plan should be documented. This helps to build up a view of how a site has developed and that any changes have been considered and updates made, where necessary.
I have seen many examples of plans which are inappropriate and/or overly expensive. The testing requirement at start up is very different, once production is established with known and trusted suppliers and experienced team members.
As a site matures, environmental monitoring can show when changes to air filters and other engineering and hygiene equipment is needed.
Changes to staff and engineering activities can also impact on the microbiology of an area. If these are controlled and monitored, the likelihood of major changes in the microbiological flora is reduced.