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Swabs pick up tough bacteria that survive cleaning

By Ahmed ElAmin , 28-Mar-2006

Biotrace International has released a range of sponges or swabs to help food companies pick up harmful bacteria that have survived the cleaning process.

Bacteria that survive harsh cleaning chemicals can become tougher to clean off processing equipment and later turn up in food products, causing a problem for manufacturers.

Food poisoning outbreaks can lead to a fall in a brand's market share and high costs due to product recalls.

The new sponges and swabs are available either dry or pre-moistened with a variety of broths and buffers to neutralise the effect of cleaning chemicals and maximise the survival of damaged or stressed microorganisms.

The company's HydraSponge and SpongeSicle products use sterile, biocide-free solutions to keep the organisms alive after sample collection.

?HydraSponge is a sponge designed for sampling large surface areas. SpongeSicle has a large sponge head and a blue plastic handle, which allows the user to collect a sample without direct contact with the sponge. It is especially useful for collecting samples from hard-to-reach areas, Biotrace stated.

Both products are supplied in Biotrace?s perforation free? sample bag. The sample bag keeps the sponge or swab sterile until sampling is needed. The dual laminate film used in the construction of the sample bag is puncture resistant.

To increase visibility on the production floor, the sponges are yellow. The tear-away portion of the sample bag and gloves are bright blue. Both products are available with or without gloves.

The Biotrace range of sampling sponges include RediSwab and the Tecra Enviroswab. RediSwab is a nine centimetre long dacron-tipped swab pre-filled with enrichment broth or neutralising solution in various fill volumes.?

The Enviroswab is pre-moistened with a specially formulated transport medium to maximise the survival of damaged or stressed microorganisms. One of the main advantages of the Enviroswab is that both the pre-enrichment and the incubation steps can be performed in a tube, Biotrace stated.

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