Certasure™ Screening: Microbiological

The Importance of Microbiological Testing of Botanical Ingredients

According to The European Union One Health 2018 Zoonoses Report more than 40.000 individuals are affected by 1 out of 5.000 reported outbreaks of foodborne diseases per year. Safety and quality are undeniably critical concerns for the food, beverage, and pet industry to minimize and prevent recalls and negative consumer impacts like illness.

In order to ensure that colouring foods or natural colours never are at the center of an illness or recall, one of Sensient’s robust screening protocols in our integrated food safety Certasure™ program solely focuses on Microbiological Screening. This process has two goals: product safety and product quality. To guarantee both, the process screens for pathogens, toxins, and spoilage organisms that can potentially pose risks in farm-grown botanically sourced ingredients.

This blog is part of an ongoing series examining each of the five Certasure™ screening protocols. For more information on the other testing protocols, choose one of the following:

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Pesticides

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Heavy Metals

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Microbiological Contamination

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Adulteration

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Unauthorized Solvents

THE MICROBIOLOGICAL SCREENING PROCESS

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

In the European Union there are typically about 5,000 reported outbreaks of foodborne zoonoses per year involving more than 40,000 individuals.(Source: The European Union One Health 2018 Zoonoses Report)

The screening process is based on what can microbiologically grow on the raw botanical materials used for natural colouring solutions. Raw materials include botanical colour sources as well as natural raw incidental ingredients like starches and gums. Given these ingredients all stem from botanicals in nature, greater testing is required since there are higher risk factors. Therefore, we conduct the following:

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Test all incoming raw materials for pathogens and spoilage organisms.

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Test all finished products for pathogens and spoilage organisms.

HOW DO WE DECIDE SCREENINGS?

We base our risk assessment on a variety of factors:

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SPECIFIC PRODUCT

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CHARACTERISTICS

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HOW IT’S GROWN

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pH

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WATER ACTIVITY

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ORGANISM IMPACT

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WHAT DO WE TEST FOR?

At Sensient, we collaborate with an accredited external laboratory that has been our partner for microbiological testing for over 25 years. In addition, we also request micro testing from all of our vendors.

The industry standard for microbiological testing includes screening for the following substances:

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TCP

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MOLD

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YEAST

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SALMONELLA

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ENTEROBACTERIACEAE (EB)

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BACTERIA

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LISTERIA

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MICROCYSTIN

Sensient conducts the outlined standard tests and analyzes overall risk to determine additional screening targets. All screening methods are handled according to the §64 of the German Food and Feed Code (LFGB).

FAILURES

If a raw botanical material does fail, Sensient rejects the
batch and sends the shipment back to the vendor.

Common ingredients that fail include:

SHELLACS

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STARCHES

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MALTS

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GUMS

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IN 2019, A SENSIENT SITE RAN 1.456 RAW MATERIAL SAMPLES AND HAD 22 FAILURES.

All failures are returned to the respective vendors.

The Certasure™ Promise

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The Certasure™ shield on Sensient colouring food and natural food colour shipments and samples is symbolic of peace of mind— be assured, because we are protecting your products and brand from microbiological contamination and safety-related recalls. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about the quality and safety of colouring from natural botanicals—just schedule a consultation with one of our experts.

If you’re interested in trialing Sensient’s safe and authentic natural colouring solutions, request a sample from our rainbow.

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