Thursday, May 28, 2015

FDA's Inspection Report for Apple Facility Involved in Caramel Apple Listeria Outbreak

FDA had issued a 483 Report on the Bidart Apple operation in light of the Caramel Apple Listeria outbreak.   This 483 Report made available through the Marler Blog  indicated the following:
  • Of the 110 environmental samples taken, 7 were confirmed positive for Listeria monocytogenes with 6 of these being direct food contact surfaces.  These included the polishing brushes and the wooden bins.
  • FDA observed food contact surfaces on packing equipment that were not maintained in a way that could be easily cleaned and sanitized.
  • Exposed foam padding material on a packaging line (again, something that is not only difficult to clean, but can be a collection point for contamination).
  • A bucket conveyor system made of a canvas material that had frayed ends (another material not easily cleaned).
  • Torn / cracked flaps for controlling apple flow.
In summary, this is a facility that had a number of design /maintenance issues that made cleaning the microbiological level difficult.  Listeria was found on the line  immediately before final packing (the brushes) but were also found in a bin.  These items indicate the contamination was present, but offer little information on the initial source of contamination and conditions that lead proliferation on/in the apple.

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