Quality Assurance

Situation

A mid-size food company, supplying precooked rice, was asked by its major customer to assure that the product is safe with regard to Bacillus cereus.  B. cereus has been found to be responsible for food borne illness involving rice products due to outgrowth of surviving spores after heat processing.

Solution

Seet & Associates helped to determine the typical and worst case time and temperature processing conditions for a challenge test.  Products representing these two conditions were made and inoculation with B. cereus cultures were carried out, off-site, by a microbiological lab that specialize in this kind of work.   Control and the inoculated samples were stored at two different temperatures for a period beyond what is normal in the real world.  Bacterial counts and emetic enterotoxin were analyzed at different intervals throughout the study.  The results showed that the processing condition was adequate as no B. cereus outgrowth or toxin production was observed.

Benefits

The company was able to address the concerns and satisfy its major customer through a well-designed test protocol.  The hazard analysis being commissioned to a seasoned food professional, who has an excellent working relationship with other experts in the field, provided the credibility that is required for this type of quality assurance of the product.

For more information, contact Swee Seet, Ph.D. (626) 689-9523, seet@sbcglobal.net.