Negative pathogen testing results could mean that your environment is squeaky clean (congratulations!). However, it could also mean that you’re just not looking hard enough! Never having a pathogen detection in your environmental monitoring program could indicate there are gaps in your sampling plan. Perhaps the plan simply isn’t representative enough of the environment and is not doing its job.
Quality Assurance Managers should think of their Environmental Swabbing as a hunt for pathogens, instead of as a test to pass or fail for their auditors to see. You want to ensure that you have checked every nook and cranny and feel confident that there is no way these sneaky pathogens could have evaded your swabbing protocol and cause subsequent contamination in your facility.
Remember, pathogens can enter the production environment at any time they have a chance. The job of the environmental monitoring program is to ensure that the sanitation protocol has completely eliminated any pathogens that have entered the facility before they cause contamination. Wouldn’t you rather get a positive sponge test, letting you know to re-sanitize, than not find out about the contamination until it shows up on an analysis of a finished good, or causes illness to customers?
Concerned your EMP may not be thorough enough? Contact our experts for a review of your current EMP!