Research – Microbiological risk assessment and simple cost‐effective ways to reduce the risk in bulk food bags manufacturing company

Wiley Online Library

Abstract

This study was conducted to evaluate the microbial risk associated in bulk food bags manufacturing facilities and its cost‐effective way to minimize the risk. Swab samples from each step of manufacturing process was collected and microbiological analysis was done. Results showed that the bulk food bags manufacturing process was grossly contaminated with multiple types of bacteria. Moderate number of total aerobic bacteria (≤3.68 log cfu/unit), coliform (≤3.63 log cfu/unit), fecal coliform (1.0–1.25 log cfu/unit), Staphylococcus spp. count (≤3.6 log cfu/unit) was recorded in worker’s hand gloves and different sections of the whole production facility. Although no Escherichia coli or Salmonella spp. was detected, enrichment culture study detected Streptococcus spp., and fecal Streptococcus spp. in some swabs and hand gloves samples. Other than UV treatment alone, washing the hand gloves with calcinated calcium (CCa; 0.02%) followed by drying under UV light, and UV light in finished product storage room, and sanitizing the floor surfaces with 0.02% CCa, was able to significantly reduce (1.0–3.68 log cfu/unit) or eliminate the bacterial contaminants from hand gloves, finished products, and floor surfaces. This simple treatment was seen to minimize the risks of microbial contamination in the bulk food bags manufacturing facilities.

Practical applications

Flexible intermediate bulk containers (FIBCs) are used by various industrial sectors like agriculture, chemicals, and pharmaceutical, but one of the largest users of FIBC bags is the food industry. Transporting and storing food is tougher to do than any other product. The food companies are constantly in search of ways to maximize profits while cutting costs and conserving space. FIBC bags have helped thousands of businesses around the world to achieve this goal. On the other hand, reducing risks from microbial contamination is an essential part of every food manufacturer’s responsibility to protect both its customers and its business. The cost‐effective and simple methods described in this study will be applicable in the bulk food bags manufacturing facilities worldwide to ensure the quality and safety of the food.

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