This guide presents an honest comparison of the A3 system and its three main competitors - helping you to make the best decision for your site.

Here at Klipspringer, we are proud to supply the A3 system and strongly believe in the benefits it brings to food production sites. However, our goal is never to persuade or pressure the businesses we work with. Instead, we aim to present relevant information in an honest and fair way – giving you the opportunity to explore the different options and find the solution that is right for you and your operation. With this in mind, we wanted to take a closer look a the A3 system’s three main competitors: the 3M Clean-Trace System, the Neogen AccuPoint® Advanced Next Generation, and the Hygiena EnSURE Touch®.

In this article, we will highlight the benefits and limitations of all three methodologies, along with the A3 system itself. We will also provide a detailed explanation of the biggest difference between the four solutions – taking a closer look at what they detect and why this is so important.


Plus, before reading any further, you can also follow the link below to watch a webinar on Hygiene Monitoring in High Care Environments. Hosted by Klipspringer Director Alex Carlyon, our in-house A3 specialist Radek Tameczka, and scientific advisor Dr. Stephan Speidel, this webinar explores the limitations of conventional hygiene monitoring methods and provides real-world examples of A3 verification at High Care production sites.

What are the most popular Hygiene Monitoring Solutions?

Since its launch in 2017, the Lumitester A3 Smart System has been measured against three main competitors.

Below, we have listed the key differences between each system:

3M Clean-Trace System

Neogen AccuPoint® 

Hygiena EnSure Touch

Lumitester A3 Smart System

Benefits

Resources and helpline

.

Use the Surface Positive Control System to check the system is working

.

Cloud Computing to administrate hygiene monitoring

.

.

Easy-to-use

.

Free training program

.

The system generates  randomised plans for the testing of sites

.

The system supports the wireless transfer of data via WiFi connection

Easy-to-use

.

Online remote training

.

Compatible with tests for ATP, enzymes, allergens, protein & sugar

.

Syncs with analysis software to share results across sites

Easy-to-use

.

Ongoing training

.

Uses the Lumitester App to upload results to the cloud

.

Quick calibration time (2-3 days) with loan units available

.

Extendable Swab Holder

.

Enzyme active for 2 hours, with standard ATP test 

.

Detects ATP, AMP and ADP

Limitations

Only detects ATP

.

Only suited to a strong WiFi connection.

.

Batteries are expensive to replace

.

Can be difficult to implement due to complex, 3rd party software

Only detects ATP

.

Long turnaround for service and calibration

.

Batteries are expensive to replace

.

Limited support available

.

.

Only detects ATP

.

Rechargeable batteries will fail if used incorrectly 

.

Need to navigate menu before testing

.

Limited support available

.

.

Operatives who are used to ATP testing may be resistant

.

Connects via USB & Bluetooth not Wifi

Chemicals in Sample

Chlorhexidinedigluconate Humectant

No hazardous substances 

Benzethonium Chloride

Dry swabs available - no chemicals


Ease-of-use

One thing that all four systems have in common is the fact that they are incredibly straightforward when it comes to the testing process. Designed with the user experience in mind, they all involve a simple swab test, with the swab then placed inside a self-contained unit.

With an intuitive smartphone design, the Hygiena EnSURE® Touch is easy to navigate, small in size, but with maximum durability. The system also provides multiple testing options, compatible with test devices for ATP, enzymes, allergens, proteins, and sugar.

As an update to the standard Neogen AccuPoint®, the Neogen AccuPoint® Advanced Next Generation also has a touch screen design for easy navigation, as does the 3M Clean-Trace System and the Lumitester A3 Smart System. Although all four systems allow for one-handed operation to support multi-tasking, the 3M Clean-Trace model has been ergonomically designed to feature an extended base section. For some sites this may be a downside as the system is slightly larger. However, some operatives may find this unit easier to carry.

Chemicals in Samples

Another point to consider is the chemicals used in the different systems, paying particular attention to any chemical residue that could be left on a surface after you have swabbed it for testing. As you can imagine, a lot of sites feel it is counter productive for a system that tests the cleanliness of a surface to introduce a new chemical solution.

With this in mind, the Neogen AccuPoint® Advanced Next Generation has proved a popular choice for sites, due to the fact that it doesn’t transfer any potentially hazardous substances during the swabbing process. The A3 system also stands up to this criticism, as its range of compatible swabs includes dry swabs that don’t produce a chemical residue. Instead, if the swab is being used on a particularly dry surface, it can just be swirled in tap water for a couple of seconds. In contrast, the 3M Clean-Trace System relies on Chlorhexidinedigluc onate Humectant and the Hygiena EnSURE® Touch relies on Benzethonium Chloride.

Training and Support

When you are introducing a new system to your site, it’s important to factor in the training and resources that accompany your equipment. With some suppliers charging extra for even a standard level of support, you need to understand exactly what is included in the package you are considering. When it comes to the Hygiene Monitoring Systems mentioned in this article, all four options are geared up to help your operation. However, they do involve varying levels of support.

The 3M Clean-Trace System provides a selection of helpful resources for you to work through and share with your operatives. There is also a helpline that you can reach out to if you experience any teething issues or would like to learn more about the system.

The Neogen AccuPoint® and the Hygiena EnSURE® Touch both provide free, remote training programs, with the EnSURE® Touch featuring built-in screen-sharing capabilities. This should make it easier for you to secure the engagement of your site staff. Neogen also provides 24/7 global support and gives you the option of paying for on-site training.

As for the A3 system, our in-house Technical Support Team works closely with a team of microbiologists to provide ongoing support, resources, and training. Headed up by our in-house A3 expert Radek Tameczka, they will guide you through the Validation Process, helping you to establish Test Points and Referential Benchmarks. This process will be used to create a Validation Document that you can share with your auditors to highlight the effectiveness of the A3 system and explain your choice of test points and benchmarks. Our Technical Support Team will also help you to update and enhance the cleaning procedures at your site so you can be sure of a pass result. Throughout this process, you will be able to contact Radek directly at radek.tameczka@klipspringer.com or on 01473 461800

Managing, Tracking, and Analysing Your Data

Another consideration is the software that works alongside your Hygiene Monitoring system. After all, you could save a huge amount of time, money, and effort with the help of intelligent software that processes your data for you.

The Neogen AccuPoint® Advanced Next Generation is compatible with the new Neogen® Analytics Insights cloud-based software, with Neogen® offering training to sites that are new to this system.

The Hygiena EnSURE® Touch connects to SureTrend® using Wifi and a secure SSL encryption to store your data. You can then carry out detailed data analysis. What’s more, if your operation isn’t suited to testing every location every day, you can use the software to generate random test plans.

The 3M System also has its own data analysis technology that has been redesigned to consolidate information and be as user-friendly as possible.

Finally, the A3 System works in conjunction with the Lumitester App. This software automatically turns your inspection pass rates into graphs, allows you to set test points and benchmark values, displays time-series data for each test, and tracks overall inspection scores.

ATP vs ATP + AMP +ADP

All of the factors mentioned above are important and should be taken into consideration as you establish the best approach to Hygiene Monitoring for your site. However, the matter of detection capability is where the biggest difference between the four methodologies can be found.

As you will have noticed in the table at the beginning of this article, the A3 system is the only Hygiene Monitoring Solution that is capable of detecting ATP, ADP, and AMP. In contrast, the other systems are only able to detect ATP.

So why does this matter?

As a molecule found in all living cells, ATP is often tested for when sites want to establish the overall hygiene levels of a surface and efficiency of a clean. The problem is, ATP is an unstable molecule that degrades to ADP and AMP during processes such as cleaning, heating, blanching, and fermentation. It also degrades naturally even when none of these processes have taken place. As a result, the standard ATP tests mentioned throughout this article are unable to detect all organic residue. Instead, they detect ATP, but are incapable of detecting ADP and AMP. Consequently, they will commonly pass contaminated surfaces that would fail even a visual check.

The video below provides an example of this in action, with the A3 system used alongside the 3M Clean-Trace System, the Hygiena EnSURE Touch®, and the Neogen AccuPoint® System. At the time of testing the Neogen AccuPoint® Advanced Next Generation System hadn’t been released. However, as a ATP-only assay, the newer system is also incapable of detecting ADP and AMP.

In addition to testing a surface that had been exposed to Mustard, the four systems also tested surfaces that had been exposed to the following food products.

Hygiena EnSure Touch

Lumitester A3 Smart System

3M Clean-Trace System

Neogen AccuPoint®

Mustard

0 RLU

Passed

4813 RLU

Failed

26 RLU

Passed

22 RLU

Passed

Peanut Butter

0 RLU

Passed

968 RLU

Failed

26 RLU

Passed

30 RLU

Passed

Hazelnut

7 RLU

Passed

13511 RLU

Failed

29 RLU

Passed

43 RLU

Passed

Soy beans

7 RLU

Passed

9917 RLU

Failed

27 RLU

Passed

43 RLU

Passed

Shrimp

34413 RLU

Passed

87294 RLU

Failed

80018 RLU

Passed

6153 RLU

Passed

Scallops

1127 RLU

Failed

737543 RLU

Failed

1127 RLU

Failed

14 RLU

Passed

Sardines

0 RLU

Passed

999999 RLU

Failed

44 RLU

Passed

27 RLU

Passed

Yoghurt

2820 RLU

Failed

38078 RLU

Failed

21394 RLU

Failed

718 RLU

Failed

Cheese

0 RLU

Passed

24282 RLU

Failed

23 RLU

Passed

11 RLU

Passed

Chocolate

375 RLU 

Failed

8979 RLU

Failed

153 RLU

Caution

109 RLU

Passed

Ice cream

682 RLU

Failed

41882 RLU

Failed

1526 RLU

Failed

6 RLU

Passed

Bread

0 RLU

Passed

1128 RLU

Failed

20 RLU

Passed

46 RLU

Passed

As you can see, the A3 system is the only system capable of accurately detecting the organic residue and generating a fail result. In contrast, because the levels of ATP are so low, the other three systems regularly passed surfaces that were in need of further cleaning.


So that brings us to the end of our honest comparison of the A3 system and its three main competitors. We hope that you can now see the key areas to consider when finding the right approach to Hygiene Monitoring for your site.

As you move forward with your decision, the Klipspringer team would be happy to provide support. You can contact us on 01473 461800 or sales@klipspringer.com. Alternatively, you can use the form below to arrange a free consultation.  

If you would like further guidance relating to the advice shared in this article, the Klipspringer team would be happy to help. Share your details below to arrange a free consultation.