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Last update: May 2021

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Monitoring of production environments in food companies

Surveillance environnements IAA
First survey within French agri-food industries

The microbiological safety of food is a constant challenge for players in the food industry and is at the center of research at UMR INRAE ​​Oniris SECALIM. To manage microbiological hazards in agri-food companies, these actors implement strategies aimed, among other things, at preventing and/or limiting the transfer of hazards to products. Contamination of products by the production environment is now recognized as an important cause of food insecurity, which can lead to food poisoning. In fact, in addition to the microbiological controls of products, the Microbiological Monitoring of Production Environments (MMPE) has emerged as a new hygiene management tool for these actors, with a regulatory connotation in certain sectors (Egalim law). MMPE programs have therefore emerged over the last decade with the aim of searching for and/or enumerating specific microbiological targets, generally agents of food insecurity, or groups of microorganisms indicative of the hygienic status of the food production environment, with regard to Cleaning and Disinfection (C&D) procedures in particular. Surfaces in production environments can represent sources of contamination, when cleaning and disinfection procedures are ineffective, or when contamination during production takes place from air flows or from operators. This study analyzed the current practices of 37 French agri-food industries (small, medium or large), by collecting the objectives of the MMPEs, the microbial targets, the types, the number and the frequency of the samples, the analysis of the results and the types corrective actions. MMPE strategies were most often based on risk management approaches, with practices codified and transcribed into the HACCP plan. They included (i) the list of hazards to be monitored, (ii) the surfaces to be sampled, the sampling and analysis procedures, (iii) the number of samples and the sampling frequency, as well as (iv) the monitoring of contamination trends, and corrective action plans in the event of non-compliant results. However, MMPE strategies were strongly linked to the characteristics of the food plant, and would require a little more harmonization in monitoring practices.

Associated publications:

De Oliveira Mota, J., P. Kooh, E. Jaffres, H. Prevost, T. Maignien, N. Arnich, M. Sanaa, G. Boue and M. Federighi 2022. First survey about current practices of environmental monitoring programs within french agri-food industries. Biology 11(1).

 De Oliveira Mota, J., G. Boué, H. Prévost, A. Maillet, E. Jaffres, T. Maignien, N. Arnich, M. Sanaa and M. Federighi 2021. Environmental monitoring program to support food microbiological safety and quality in food industries: A scoping review of the research and guidelines. Food Control 130: 108283.


Funding and partners : This study was funded by Anses (Agence Nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire, de l'alimentation, de l'environnement et du travail) : Subvention 2019-CRD-08.