Preventing Foreign Body Contamination - Why Detection Should Be the Last Resort

Even the most stringent of detectability-oriented food safety systems are not fail-safe. The below image – taken in Melbourne, Australia, by a customer of a prominent global food retailer – shows exactly why prevention is a more effective approach.  

Upon discovering a sharp metal spring in her meal, the mother-of-two said she “felt something was right in my tooth”. After spitting out her food, she noticed the large spring, and, in her own words, “instantly felt sick”.  

Worst of all, this customer was with her two children, both under the age of three. Afterwards, she told 7News Australia that: “I just keep thinking about what could’ve happened if it was either of my young children and how scary it could’ve turned out.”  

Public exposure of this sort will taint any company’s reputation. Following this incident, a three-pronged investigation between the restaurant, customer, and council had to be undertaken. But it was entirely preventable.  

A Common Non-Conformance

Due to the unavoidable need for pens and other utensils in and around production lines, poor foreign body contamination control is one of the most commonly identified BRCGS non-conformities. More importantly, it is also a violation of compliance – not to mention customer trust. In this era of instantaneous, 24/7 news and social media reviews, years of impeccable food safety standards can be ruined by one tiny lapse.

But there is a guaranteed way to ensure that the pens used by your team pose no risk of foreign body contamination.

Prevention before detection.

Read on to find out more.

The Solution

Pen coil springs are virtually undetectable, not only by the human eye, but also by automated machines. Leading companies are now opting to use metal detectors or x-rays to identify pen fragments in food items where necessary, in addition to implementing measures to prevent such hazards before they arise.


These organisations – which include Heinz, Bakkavor, Cargill, PepsiCo, Two Sisters, Moy Park, and XPO Logistics – are mandating the use of writing utensils which physically cannot fragment. In other words, they have made it company policy that their pens…

1) …are made of the strongest, most durable materials

2) …are completely shatterproof

3) …do not contain coil springs

Tried and tested across the complete food sector, Retreeva Global have designed an innovative range of near-unbreakable pens. It is a known fact that higher metal content makes factory pens more brittle, increasing the risk of the pen shattering under pressure, and, subsequently, product contamination.

As part of the Klipspringer Group, Retreeva’s choice of materials means that, unlike other options, these pens cannot shatter into unnoticeable, far-flung fragments.

By eliminating the risk of foreign body contamination on assembly lines, consistent product integrity is ensured. And yes, these pens are still produced to a very high standard of detectability. But, by choosing a robust, shatterproof, and spring-free pen which first prevents foreign body contamination, detection becomes a last resort.

In the unlikely occurrence of a mishap, this ensures that stray pens still have a very high chance of being rejected in finished product.

What Does BRCGS Food Safety Issue 9 Say?

It also offers compliance with the BRCGS’s increasingly strict food safety requirements, which state that:

“Portable handheld equipment, e.g. stationery items (pens, pencils etc.), mobile phones, tablets and similar portable items used in open product areas shall be controlled to minimise risk of physical contamination. The site may consider, for example:

  • excluding non-approved items
  • restricting the use to site-issued equipment
  • ensuring stationery items such as pens are designed without small external parts and are detectable by foreign body detection equipment, or are used in designated areas where contamination is prevented"

(BRCGS9 Ref.

If you’d like to learn more about the specific features of Retreeva’s much-acclaimed detectable pen range, read this comprehensive summary.

Alternatively, you can watch the below video explaining which type of detectable pen best suits your applications.

Shadow Boards: An Industry Staple for Workplace Management?

Everything You Need To Know About Shadow Boards

Picture a workplace with equipment scattered everywhere. Mops and brushes carelessly left in corners of cupboards and washrooms. Toolboxes and drawers jumbled with hard-to-find engineering tools.

Does this signify efficiency, cleanliness, and professionalism to you?

According to a leading audit body, 60% of non-conformance issues relate to poor housekeeping of small manufacturing and production utensils.

Whether it be in the food production industry, pharmaceutical industry, or retail and hospitality industry, organisational planning is fundamental to a professional, fully functioning workplace.

Few deny this. However, there remains some dispute over how best to facilitate such planning. After all, tracking dozens if not hundreds of tools is no mean feat – let alone keeping them ordered, visible, and easily accessible.

This is where shadow boards come in. Used by the likes of Two Sisters, Arla, Cranswick, Morrisons, Bakkavor, Hovis, Dominoes, Kerry, and Coca Cola, shadow boards provide a dedicated home for cleaning equipment, small utensils, and mobile tools. In the last decade, they’ve become an indisputably popular solution.

But how exactly do they work?

This article unpacks everything important there is to know about shadow boards. Written by our expert team at Klipspringer, it draws on a decade’s worth of knowledge as the industry leaders in shadow boards since popularising them in 2011. It details the main types of shadow board, outlining each type’s function, and offering actionable next steps for those seeking to learn more.

And yes, as you’re probably already thinking – we do sell shadow boards. We are biased towards our own range (wouldn’t you be worried if we weren’t?). But the purpose of this article isn’t to sell our shadow boards. It was written to inform the reader in deciding if shadow boards are applicable for their business, and, if so, what type of board suits them best.

So, what are shadow boards?

Put simply, shadow boards are storage solutions which support hygiene standards, health and safety, and efficiency. There are three principal formats:

1) Tool Boards

Tool shadow boards house a set of related tools and supplies. Each tool has a designated area (a ‘shadow’) and is securely fixed by either a fixing or mounting, as seen below.

Rather than equipment strewn haphazardly across work surfaces, every item is safely stored and accounted for. While tool boards are often made for standard equipment (such as hammers, spanners, and screwdrivers), they should also be able to accommodate more bespoke tools, from machine equipment to spare parts.

2) Cleaning Stations

Based on the same design principles, cleaning stations group hygiene-related apparatus for easy access. Whether by department, production line, or industry-specific segregation (e.g. allergens), colour-coded cleaning stations prevent any non-compliant overlap in equipment use.

For example, tools for cleaning the production area of an allergen (e.g. nuts) should never be re-used on another production line, due to risking cross-contamination and audit failure. Clear visual communication prevents this from ever occurring.

3) Visual Management

By making crucial information visual and digestible, shadow boards bolster understanding – a must in compliance contexts. Invaluably, employee procedures, site maps, or team objectives can be communicated at a glance, saving time, preventing confusion, and minimising costly error.

Visual management shadow boards are applicable across a range of scenarios, including:

  • KPI Monitoring and Tracking
  • Safety & Site Signage
  • Quality Standards
  • Instrumentation Standards
  • Short Interval Control
  • Root Cause & Benefit Analysis
  • Shift Changeover Boards
  • Dress Procedures
  • Near Miss & Accident Tracking

Visual management shadow board for Heineken

Why use Shadow Boards?

“Shadow boards are an unnecessary luxury”. Chances are you’ve heard this complaint from some managers and budget holders before. Admittedly, it may be true – depending on company values. Shadow boards are useless … for companies that don’t prioritise hygiene, health and safety, or efficiency.

For innovative, compliance-oriented organisations, shadow boards are a budgeted staple. Drawing on the 5S Principles, shadow boards are proven to:

  • Minimise costly errors and non-compliances
  • Increase equipment longevity (and therefore production)
  • Reduce replacement costs and tool-searching time
  • Improve audit scores
  • Cultivate an ordered workplace environment
  • Overcome written and verbal communication barriers

Where to get started with Shadow Boards

That said, not all shadow boards are created equal. These numerous benefits depend on the quality of craftsmanship, level of customisation, and efficacy of visual communication. Another key consideration is the cost of shadow boards, which varies depending on which type of board is required, and its various features.

At Klipspringer, we pride ourselves on all of the above. Since 2011, we’ve been the industry leader in bespoke, visually compelling shadow boards, using our state-of-the-art design, print, and production facilities to satisfy the likes of Tesco Maintenance and Bradleys Metal Finishers. Our boards are characterised by unrivalled production quality, design processes, and production turnaround times, allowing us to form partnerships that enhance standards on a daily basis.

Already know which type of shadow board you require? Fill out our Shadow Board Enquiry Form so our team can contact you to progress your project as quickly as possible.

Want more information? Click here to read about the exact features of our customised shadow boards.

Temperature Mapping Explained

What is temperature mapping?

Put simply, temperature mapping is the process of installing data-logging sensors throughout a room or unit – from fridge-freezers to entire warehouses – to monitor and analyse temperature data. By strategically placing these sensors in pre-determined locations, often in a grid format, temperature mapping allows you to identify hot and cold spots.

In doing so, you are able to better manage your storage products, which can become unusable or even dangerous if kept in improper conditions. An example is the impact of air handling units (a common feature of most storage spaces) on a unit’s air flow, which can result in unmapped temperature fluctuations, and an overheating of stored medicines or food items.

Why is it important?

Temperature mapping is particularly crucial in units which store TTSPPs, or time and temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical products. However, this also extends to most manufactured goods, as stipulated by the MHRA Inspectorate – the main driver of regulations in the food and pharmaceutical industries. At a minimum, compliance companies must comply with GDP (Good Distribution Practice) guidelines for production, transportation, and storage conditions.

Guidelines and regulations aside, temperature mapping should be a high priority for manufacturers who want to avoid wasting inventory. It is a process carried out cyclically by some of the biggest names in food and manufacturing, from the Culina Group, to Nestle, to the Müller Group. While most companies abide by GDP guidelines, regular temperature mapping is a service that can distinguish your compliance and safety standards from the rest of the crowd.

When is it needed?

Specifically, there are five main situations which require temperature mapping:

1. New Equipment – A standard qualification process must occur when a new piece of critical equipment is installed. As part of the fully documented verification process, The World Health Organisation requires all new temperature storage areas to be mapped before the installation is commissioned and handed over by the installer.

2. Repaired Equipment – After a unit is mended and restored to full working capacity, it is common to remap and test it to ensure that it operates as expected.

3. Relocated Equipment – When a unit is moved, its performance can be significantly impacted. Requalifying and remapping is therefore a logical preventative measure.

4. Periodic Testing – For autoclaves and other sterilisation instruments, continuous remapping once every year or so is a fairly common approach, while this can extend to several years for storage areas, such as walk-ins or warehouses. As you’d expect, the more frequent this periodic testing takes place, the lower the chance of malfunctioning equipment.<

5. External Environmental Conditions – Storage areas are often impacted by the building’s outside temperature. In the extremes of seasons like summer and winter, it is advisable to test these areas on a consistent basis.

How is it carried out?

Initially, the duration of the temperature mapping should be determined by the type of equipment. Your site may already have a Validation Plan or standardised procedure in place with mapping durations detailed. The table below offers some typical examples:

EquipmentTypical Mapping Duration
Fridge, Freezer, Incubator24 to 72 Hours
Cold Store24 Hours to 7 Days
Warehouse7 Days

Once the duration is decided, the next stage is to select the type of test. For temperature controlled units such as fridges, freezers, and incubators, the testing method should be identified during risk assessment. Examples of common tests performed include:

  • Temperature Distribution Test (Empty)
  • Temperature Distribution Test (Loaded)
  • Door Open Test
  • Power Off Test

Additional tests that may be performed if required for the product or process: Temperature Distribution Test (Partially Loaded) Temperature Penetration Test (Loaded) Pull Down Test For some storage environments, such as warehouses, it may not be possible to perform some of the testing. An example of this is an empty distribution map, either power off or door open. There may also be additional testing requirements unique to that environment, which could include:

  • Compressor Switch-Over Tests
  • Compressor Failure Tests

Getting started

Aside from these initial considerations, temperature mapping is a thorough process that has to be carried out correctly. Other factors such as the number of sensors, the placement of sensors, and the choice of data logging equipment must all be considered.

That’s why most industry professionals recommend delegating this responsibility to a UKAS-certified organisation with verifiable experience. They can provide an all-encompassing report on your storage area’s hot and cold spots, and recommendations regarding the fitting of air handling, conditioning, or cooling.

This report should include:

  • Schematic floor plan of the area being mapped
  • Minimum, maximum and average temperature for each sensor
  • Data presented in both tabular and graphical format
  • Mean Kinetic Temperature (MKT), if required
  • Excursion analysis
  • UKAS calibration certificate for each sensor used within the mapping study
  • Raw data at 1 minute intervals provided as CSV files

How much does temperature mapping cost?

There are several factors that influence the price of a temperature mapping project, which is why a bespoke quote is needed for each project.

Some of the main factors include:

1. Self managed mapping or on-site support – Using Klipspringer’s plug-and-play option, self-managed mapping comes at a lower fixed cost and is dependent on the number of mapping points, as this governs the amount of sensors you will need to use. If you don’t want the hassle of self-managed mapping and would prefer an on-site service, the below factors will also influence the price.
2. Number of mapping points – The higher the number of mapping points, the longer it takes to set up, report on and pack up, so the price increases as the number of mapping points increases.
3. Accessibility –  The layout of the mapping points can determine how long it will take to map out your designated area. For example, mapping points spread across multiple buildings and in hard-to-reach locations will increase the amount of time (and possibly equipment) needed to complete the mapping.
4. Duration of mapping period – Similar to the number of mapping points, a longer mapping period will normally increase the mapping cost.  At Klipspringer, we include this in the quotation once we have understood your mapping requirements.

To give you an approximate costings guide, we’ve chosen two typical examples below:

At Klipspringer, our technical team has been awarded UKAS Accreditation, a testimony to our impeccable customer service and meticulous attention to detail. We offer both a rental service for applications where self-managed mapping is preferred (the ‘Plug & Play’ option), or a comprehensive temperature mapping service carried out by our team of experts at your site (the ‘Platinum’ option).

FactorsScenario 1Scenario 2
Size of warehouseSmallLarge
Number of mapping points50100
Type of monitoringTemperature onlyTemperature only
Accessibility statusEasy accessEasy access
On-site serviceIncludedIncluded
Pricing Guide£2,000 – £3,000£4,000 – £6,000

To discuss temperature mapping or your audit requirements with a professional, contact our team today.

Understanding Your UKAS Calibration Certificate

Your UKAS Accredited Calibration Certificate – what does it mean?

When your temperature or humidity device arrives back from Klipspringer’s calibration laboratory, it will accompanied by a certificate. Do you and your team understand the information you are being presented with and how it relates to your instruments?

Using the example below, this blog will guide you through each element of the certificate along with how and where the information is applicable.


A.  The address where the calibration was completed. In this case it was in our UKAS accredited Laboratory. If the calibration had been completed on a customer’s site, their site address would be entered here.
B.The official UKAS mark, detailing the laboratory’s accredited number at the bottom.  Details of the schedule for each lab can be obtained from the UKAS website using this code. This symbol also demonstrates that the calibration is traceable to the UK’s national standard.
C.The date the calibration certificate was issued.
D.The unique certificate number.
E.The name of the person who approved the calibration result.
F.The due date of the next calibration; this can only be entered if requested in advance by the customer.
G.The signature of E.
H.The name of the person or company requesting the calibration.
I.The address of the person or company requesting the calibration.
J.The unique serial number of the IUT (Instrument Under Test) which has been calibrated.
K.Where the IUT has a detachable probe or sensor etc, this is the unique serial number for this. When this item does not already have a unique number applied, then this will be the serial number of the IUT with the suffix “A” afterwards. Please note, Klipspringer are able to IndeliMark a serial number onto probe handles for permanent and food-safe identification.
L.The description of the IUT. In some cases, this will also detail any damage to the device on arrival to Klipspringer, or where any adjustment has been made after customer authorisation.
M.The date the IUT was received into the laboratory for calibration.
N.The date the IUT was calibrated.
O.The temperature, humidity or pressure (where applicable) within the laboratory when the IUT was calibrated.
P.The range requested for calibration by the customer.
Q.The method and equipment used to carry out calibration of the IUT.
R.Any specific requirements, such as the depth of the probe in the calibration bath.
S.The temperature or humidity tested against.
T.The actual result of the IUT. A figure different to column S shows that the IUT is reading slightly higher or lower and this is the correction factor. E.g. IUT above is reading 40.10°C @ 40.00°C therefore the correction factor is -0.1, The correction factor should be applied when using the IUT, especially where the device is either to be used for monitoring a CCP (Critical Control Point), or where it is used to check the accuracy of other devices which will be used for monitoring CCP’s. If the calibration certificate relates to an in-house calibrator machine (ECMP4, 8 or 12), this will be an average across the ports.
U.This is the uncertainty of measurement of the calibration. Measurements cannot be absolute and even with the most expensive equipment and controlled environments there is always a degree of variation. The uncertainty value printed on the calibration certificate will have taken several factors into consideration, such as repeatability of result, linearity, atmosphere, equipment being used etc. to give a figure which covers all of these variabilities. An uncertainty measurement allows you to have a high level of confidence in your results. For example, @ 40.00°C the certificate states the IUT reads at 40.10°C, with an uncertainty budget of ± 0.13°C, so your results will confidently be between 39.97 and 40.23°C*.
V.This statement details the ‘k factor’, e.g. k=2. The ‘k factor’ is a statistical calculation for how often the uncertainty will be ± 0.13 °C. When k = 2 you would be safe to assume that 95% of the time the device reading will have an uncertainty of ± 0.13 °C.

* We recommend that you incorporate both the correction factor and the uncertainty value into the operation of your device, to ensure the readings reflect the accuracy required. Where your device has only 1 decimal point, then you should round down or up depending on the combined figure, e.g. 0.13 would be ± 0.1 °C.

Klipspringer’s uncertainty budgets are reviewed frequently and against each other when reference instruments return from UKAS calibrations. As our uncertainty values are low, our customers can achieve the best possible result and be confident when using their calibrated equipment.

Reducing the Risks of Acrylamide in Cooking Oil

In October 1997, cows and fish on the Swedish Bjare peninsula suddenly started dying.

The cause was eventually discovered – construction workers had been pumping sealant into holes in a nearby railway tunnel which contaminated the water with acrylamide. Not only did this kill those cows and fish, it is a proven carcinogen for animals – and a probable carcinogen for humans.

The problem with acrylamide is that it is found in many of the foods that we eat, especially starchy food with higher levels of asparagine such as crisps, chips, toast, cakes, and biscuits. One other place where people might not think acrylamide resides is in cooking oil.

Acrylamide in food

Acrylamide has long been seen as a risk factor in some foods. It develops as a natural by-product in food through the Maillard reaction, a form of non-enzymatic browning where a chemical reaction occurs between amino acids and reducing sugars.

Food safety experts have been studying acrylamide since the early 2000s, and in 2013, the European Commission introduced ‘indicative values’ for food groups most associated with acrylamide. These were a guide rather than regulatory limits, but as of April 2018 food businesses in Europe have been required to put in place practical steps to manage acrylamide in their food management systems. Acrylamide cannot be fully eliminated, but it can be reduced and this is what new EU regulation is aiming for.

What are the risks?

Potential health risks of acrylamide include cancer and damage to the nervous and reproductive systems, although risk levels differ depending on lifestyle and consumption levels.

The Committee on Mutagenicity have suggested that acrylamide could damage DNA, stating that ‘there is no level of exposure to this genotoxic carcinogen that is without some risk’. In 2014, the European Food Safety Authority supported the CoM’s views, and the Food Standards Agency has been keeping an eye on acrylamide levels in food since 2007, recommending that when cooking foods like bread and potatoes, they are cooked to the lightest colour acceptable.

Cooking oil and acrylamide

Acrylamide is not naturally found in cooking oil, but if starchy foods such as potatoes are fried in oil, and that oil is reused, then acrylamide can build up to dangerous levels. This is not a huge concern for domestic cookery (unless chip fryers are used and oil is not replaced) but it might worry a lot of people who work in the food industry and use cooking oil on a daily basis, because if cooking oil is used beyond its working life, acrylamide is likely to build up and could harm consumers.

It is recommended that cooking oil should be replaced when it reaches 25% Total Polar Compound (TPC). There isn’t a direct correlation between acrylamide and TPC levels but it’s widely acknowledged that oils with a high TPC level also contain higher levels of acrylamide.

Both sides of the coin

A common problem in the food sector is knowing when oil has reached an unacceptable TPC level. Some kitchens keep reusing their oil, unaware that it has become dangerous for consumers. This is often due to traditional oil changing schedules, subjective oil checks based on colour or test strips, poor awareness of acrylamide dangers or attempting to increase oil life and cut costs.

Perhaps surprisingly, our research has shown that many businesses are actually erring on the side of caution and discarding oil which is still safe to reuse. As sustainability programmes are given greater focus, key foodservice and hospitality brands such as Whitbread are leading the way in reducing oil usage by up to 52% – simply by implementing regular oil quality checks using an electronic food oil monitor.

One of the best ways to ensure that your cooking oil is safe to use is to invest in a food oil monitor. At Klipspringer, we recommend the FOM330 Ebro oil monitor to check your oil at regular intervals. It is a handheld and portable instrument which is extremely simple to use, quickly measuring TPC levels in oil to a high standard of accuracy. This monitor not only makes companies more efficient, by preventing oil wastage, it also makes them safer and prevents acrylamide build up.

Advice for the Food Industry

There are a few simple pieces of advice that any business in the food industry which cooks with oil, or cooks food containing acrylamide, should follow:

  • Abide by the acrylamide standards relevant to your region
  • Where possible, cook food at lower temperatures for less time
  • Cook food to a maximum light golden brown colour
  • Regularly check the levels of TPC in your oil and discard at 25%

Klipspringer Launches New Microfibre Socket Mop

Since it's launch in 2016, the M1417 microfibre socket mop from Klipspringer has gone from strength to strength, making it one of the most popular mops available across industry, and in particular the food sector.

As always, we are constantly looking for ways to further improve our products. Thanks to your feedback, our product development team have been working over the last few months to make this unique mop even better for you.

We are pleased to launch the next generation M1419 Microfibre Socket Mop – exclusive to Klipspringer. This product is stocked in eight different colours for same-day despatch and next working day delivery!

New, stronger thread for handle

We have redesigned the thread connector for handles to make it stronger, as well as easier to fit the handle.

Should you need to apply that little bit of extra pressure to remove more stubborn residues, the M1419 allows you to do so with confidence.

This more robust design is compatible with all Klipspringer threaded handles.

Increased size for quicker mopping

Thanks to input from our team of Lean consultants, we’ve identified that a small increase in the size of the mop will help you complete your mopping requirements quicker. We’ve marginally increased the length of the mop, and changed the material weight from 170 grams to 195 grams. Whilst from an operators perspective this change is almost unnoticeable, it allows a greater area to be covered at any one time, speeding up your mopping process.

Using mops for spillage clear-up? The increased mop head size also allows for an enhanced absorption capacity!

Why use Klipspringer's Microfibre Socket Mop?

  • Traditional string and cloth socket mops move dirt and bacteria around the floor and actually pick up very little. Klipspringer’s microfibre socket mop combines the advantages of the traditional socket mop with microfibre technology – each mop strand picks up up dirt/bacteria and removes it from the floor. This leads to a much cleaner and safer floor, without any additional work!
  • Available in 8 colours to support your colour coding regime: blue, red, yellow, green, orange, purple, black and white.
  • Next generation M1419 microfibre socket mop the same price as its predecessor (M1417)!

A3 vs ATP Hygiene Monitoring – What’s the Difference?

A3 vs. ATP hygiene monitoring – what’s the difference?

Klipspringer have been supplying the food and beverage industry for over 20 years, particularly in the areas of hygiene, food safety and audit compliance. As a BRCGS partner organisation, we work with over 4,000 sites spanning food and beverage production, food retail, hospitality and pharmaceutical. In this article, we look at the basics of hygiene monitoring, including why it is important and how to approach it.

Key Topics Covered:

What is hygiene monitoring?

Hygiene monitoring is a fundamental requirement across a wide cross-section of industries. It is especially important in food, beverage, healthcare and pharmaceutical processes, where poor hygiene standards can risk serious consequences. In the simplest possible terms, hygiene monitoring systems measure how clean a surface is. If results exceed a set level, this may indicate that the surface requires further cleaning.

Measurements are normally carried out using a swab-based test to check the effectiveness of cleaning processes, either routinely or as one-off ‘spot checks’. The aim is to ensure that business operations can be carried out without risking consumer safety. In a food production environment, for example, hygiene swabbing is typically carried out once the hygiene team have completed a washdown of an area or equipment, to determine whether it is safe for food production processes to begin.

What is ATP hygiene monitoring?

The most common method associated with hygiene monitoring is measuring ATP, or adenosine triphosphate. Since ATP molecules are found in all living cells, using an ATP meter is a fast and effective option for checking what organic material and microorganisms have been left behind on your surfaces – even if the surface has been cleaned and looks clean to the eye.

The two main components of ATP testing are the ATP measuring unit, and ATP test swabs. ATP swabs are typically used in a zig-zag pattern across your testing surface, 10cm square. The swab is then ‘activated’ by pushing it into the swab housing and shaking the tube. The entire swab tube is then placed into the ATP meter, which uses luminosity to provide a reading of ATP content in the swab sample. This reading is given in RLUs (Relative Light Units), indicating the cleanliness of the surface. The lower the RLU, the cleaner the surface.

What are the limitations with ATP testing?

As we’ve said, ATP is by the far the most widely used hygiene test and is perfect for applications dealing with very stable processes. However, a key point to remember is that it relies on measuring just one molecule, ATP.

ATP is an unstable molecule which decomposes in certain processes, such as cooking and fermentation. Through these processes, the molecules are participating in biological reactions and losing their energy, resulting in the ATP count decreasing and instead forming ADP (adenosine diphosphate) and AMP (adenosine monophosphate).

How do ATP and A3 compare?

With different hygiene monitoring systems using different methods to measure cleanliness, the video shows the difference in sensitivity using the A3 technology compared to a hygiene monitoring system that only measures ATP.

ATP Testing In Allergen Control

This means that, although an ATP test may not detect high levels of organic residue, it is often still there but just in a different form. The dangerous consequence of this for food safety is that a surface appears ‘clean’ but in fact is still contaminated and requires further cleaning.

Additionally, ATP swabbing alone is not an effective method for allergen testing. Allergens such as milk, nuts, soy and milk are high in proteins and there is limited correlation between protein and ATP test results, making it a questionable approach to allergen management.

What is A3 and how is it different?

Auditors and food safety inspectors are now recognising the A3 system as a more comprehensive and reliable hygiene testing method. The A3 system differs from traditional ATP meters by detecting adenosine molecules in all three forms mentioned above: ATP, ADP and AMP.

Using patented technology, the surface swabbing and measuring process is identical to standard ATP meters, with just one test swab, however the meter gives a combined reading of the levels all three molecules. Regardless of what stage the adenosine molecules are at in their reactions, they will be measured by the A3 system and the resulting RLU reading will be a more accurate reflection of how clean the surface is.

This is particularly noticeable in meat, egg, seafood and nuts, as shown in the graphs below:

Detection of foods and beverages using the A3 System and three commercially available ATP monitoring tests from two leading companies.

Graph 1

ATP reading below the action level before sanitation is effective.

Graph 2

Example showing how heat drastically reduces the amount of detectable ATP, while A3 readings will remain constant.

Getting Started

Hygiene monitoring is a crucially-important process which must be carried out carefully and results documented for audit purposes. As per the BRCGS Food Standard V8, sites must decide what levels of cleaning performance is and isn’t acceptable, as well as defining corrective action(s) that must be taken when results are higher than they should be (see BRCGS Global Standard for Food Safety, Issue 8, Clause 4.11.3).

As a BRCGS partner organisation, food safety and hygiene are at the core of Klipspringer’s customer partnerships and our technical team are on hand to assist with hygiene monitoring applications across the industry. To discuss your challenges, testing requirements or investigate using the A3 System from Klipspringer, contact the Klipspringer team on 01473 461800. Alternatively, click here to learn more about the system or get in touch.

Find out more

Food Oil Management – A Bigger Problem Beneath the Surface?

Talk to anyone about the headlines which dominated conversations around cooking oil in 2018 and you are assured of two answers - "palm oil" and "sustainability".

And you could say rightly so. Palm oil production is said to be responsible for 8% of the world’s deforestation between 1990 and 2008. The statistics against palm oil and it’s (lack of) sustainability is significant. Yet, with increasing consumer awareness, and organisations ever-more conscious of the impact on their brands and reputations, is the obsession with palm oil masking other concerns around food oil management?

For example, waste?

Over the last 20 years, we’ve had the opportunity to partner with many global restaurant chains, commercial caterers and the hospitality sector. If you asked us to identify one common trend it would be this:

Food cooking oil is being changed too frequently. But why?

In our experience, there are 5 key reasons food cooking oil is being changed when it is.

1. The status quo. It’s always been done this way. Nobody knows why, but the procedure hasn’t changed, and nobody wants to be the person who risks changing it. (eg oil changed every Friday morning, or when fish and chips are on the menu.)

2. The visual check. “It looks like it needs changing.” This is always based on experience, and whilst there are many trained eyes in commercial kitchens, colour is subjective. What looks like a subtle difference in oil appearance can make a big difference in working life.

3. Person dependent. Sometimes the responsibility falls on one person. All too often that’s the busiest person. Unwilling to risk product quality, and running a hectic schedule, the instruction to change the oil is sometimes given too soon.

4. Reputation. Every chef and commercial kitchen operative wishes to serve up the best food – it is what their reputation depends on. This must be respected, but does have its drawbacks. For example, cooking oil gets changed earlier than necessary to protect product quality. As the working life of the oil is never extended, nobody is aware that it could be extended by up to 50%!

5. Don’t know better. Commercial kitchens are high-pressure environments, and there are more pressing concerns than the food oil. The current system is working, there are no problems, and everybody is happy. As a result, it doesn’t get given any attention.

That’s all very well. Is there a better way?

What gets measured, gets managed.

To overcome these challenges requires 3 key actions:

1. Make it measurable. Oil quality should be measured as an arbitrary number, and a threshold set for changing the oil. Regular checks mean oil life is then extended to its maximum without compromising product quality.

2. De-skill oil management. The procedure for checking and changing cooking oil should be de-skilled. Any team member should be able to check the oil quality and then make the decision whether the oil needs changing. (Note this is only possible once arbitrary, digital measurement has been implemented).

3. Report. Every oil quality measurement should be recorded, along with when oil was changed. Management should review this on a regular basis to make sure oil is not being changed too regularly or too late. A fully documented ‘audit trail’ also supports effective kitchen management and due diligence.

Interested in how this works out practically? Concerned about rolling this out on a national or global scale? Intrigued how well-respected brands such as McDonalds, Whitbread and Five Guys partner with Klipspringer to implement effectively?

Reach out to Klipspringer’s Consultants today for a chat about your oil management challenges and opportunities.