Does your dairy test measure up? Why certifications matter

As a food manufacturer in a rapid-turn environment, you are constantly looking for ways to maintain quality and safety while getting your food to the shelf faster than ever. The dairy industry has seen a lot of new technologies and techniques to detect pathogens and spoilage bacteria since the first Pasteurized Milk Ordinance was passed in 1924. Scientists continue to find new technologies and techniques to detect pathogens in food and beverages.

Whether you process milk, butter, ice cream or dry ingredients, you want to know your products are safe. And you want to test quickly and easily without waste.  But has your test passed the test?

The importance of third-party validations

When you select methods to test your food and beverage products, you should ensure that those methods have data to back them up. Rigorous testing reviewed by a third-party agency – and certification from them – lets you know that those methods have been proven effective and accurate.

AOAC® International is an independent, third-party association of international government agencies, industry organizations and research institutions. They were established in 1884 as the Association of Official Agricultural Chemists, but they have expanded their membership and mission since then. They develop standards for laboratory testing and provide multiple certifications and validations for food and beverages, baby formula, and more.

3M Food Safety works with AOAC International to validate methods and to reaffirm test kits have a consistent high level of performance. 3M™ Petrifilm™ Plates are used to test for yeasts and mold, coliform, and bacterial populations. These methods have all been tested and certified by the AOAC so food manufacturers have assurance that the tests have been approved by an unbiased agent.

Read more about the importance of validations

What are 3M Petrifilm Plates?

For the past 35 years, 3M Petrifilm Plates have served as a potential replacement for traditional agar plates. One 3M Petrifilm Plate is used to replace one agar plate. They are a rehydratable, culture medium system that contains nutrients, a cold-water-soluble gelling agent and indicator dyes that facilitate colony enumeration. They test a wide range of microorganisms including E. coli, Listeria, yeasts, molds, and Staphylococcus aureus. 3M Petrifilm Plates are used for the enumeration of bacteria in environmental monitoring, in-process testing, and finished product testing in the food and beverage industries.

Skip the agar: save time and space

Environmental impacts due to raw material inputs, manufacturing, packaging, use, disposal and waste from both 3M Petrifilm Plates and traditional agar plates were compared. GaBi software was used for data analysis.

Who wants to spend time preparing culture-based tests using agar plates? Food safety lab technicians can spend hours preparing Petri dishes for microbial analysis. They can reduce the amount of time spent preparing tests by about 45%. A study of 292 U.S. food-processing plants showed that 3.7 hours of technicians’ time was saved per day by using 3M Petrifilm Plates*. They come ready-to-use and give you faster results – about half the time that is needed with traditional agar methods. Technicians just follow three simple steps: inoculate – no prep needed, incubate using a compact incubator and interpret by counting colonies easily detected thanks to chromogenic indicators.

Plus, 3M Petrifilm Plates are shelf-stable and paper-thin, so that means they last longer and allow for more open room on your countertops and in storage areas.

Save water and energy and cut waste

You have a commitment to meeting sustainability goals and reducing your environmental footprint. Using 3M Petrifilm Plates can help you meet those goals. Compared to traditional agar methods, a study conducted by the 3M Environmental Laboratory shows they that you’ll use 76 percent less energy and 79 percent less water.

The study also shows the 3M Petrifilm Plates emit 75 percent less greenhouse gas and produce 66 percent less waste than agar methods. That’s good news for everyone.
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Summary of Life Cycle Impacts Environmental impacts due to raw material inputs, manufacturing, packaging, use, disposal and waste from both 3M Petrifilm Plates and traditional agar plates were compared. GaBi software was used for data analysis.

If you are using traditional agar plate testing, take a look at 3M Petrifilm Plates. They are easy to use – no time-consuming prep – and have a stable shelf-life. These paper-thin plates can also help you meet your sustainability goals by using less water and less energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

What are you waiting for? Learn more about 3M Petrifilm Plates.

Learn more about environmental monitoring

Learn more about the importance of environmental monitoring and the steps you can take to be more proactive about food safety in your facility. Download the full handbook by visiting 3M Environmental Monitoring.

Need more information on the total 3M Food Safety testing solution? Simply reach out and we’ll be happy to help you with any questions you have.