Floor coating keeps bacteria at bay

Centennial Vineyards is a very impressive property incorporating a restaurant, winery and event’s facility for international performing artists, it is located just minutes from the township of Bowral in the Southern Highlands of NSW. It is a picturesque part of New South Wales that has frequent visitors from Sydney’s metropolitan area, as well as those from overseas.

The premium cool climate vineyard is set at more than 760m in altitude, which ensures the grapes ripen slowly with enhanced flavour and intensity. The vines at Centennial Vineyards are planted on more than 80 acres consisting of Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, Gewurztraminer, Gruner Ventliner and Tempranillo.

The chief winemaker, Tony Cogsriff, has had nearly 20 years working with Centennial. He grew up in New Zealand and after graduating from university worked with many well-known New Zealand wineries before emigrating to Australia to join John Large, who is a successful wine industry retailer and entrepreneur who runs Centennial Winery. Cogsriff has won many accolades for his high-quality wines and sets a benchmark that matches the impressive surrounds of the vineyard.

Like any business, maintenance is something that all companies have to keep up-to-date in order to meet strict regulations within the food and beverage industries. This is no different for Centennial Vineyards when it came to the flooring in its winery.

The existing floor coating was deteriorating from heavy traffic and bacteria build up from yeast and salts, which was causing a dangerous hazard for forklifts. There were also potential contamination issues for the wine.

A new coating was needed, and it had to have several features. It needed to handle heavy and light wear, as well as ongoing wet conditions form the grapes and wash down. Centennial Vineyards asked Roxset HACCP Coatings to provide an impervious non-slip, highly protective and safe coating in its production and cellar areas.

The Roxset SE 6m coating system in the company’s mid grey was installed covering more than 600sqm to key production areas around fermentation, bottling, cellar and barrel areas.

Roxset epoxy screeds and ceramic additives have assisted in providing long-lasting protection to exposed concrete. A high glass finish was applied around coving and an epoxy detail formed around the slotted drains for protection.

Features of the system include a high level of protection from contamination, seamless non-slip finish, and it is long lasting and durable.

“We are delighted with the incredibly hard and durable surface of the SE solution from Roxset,” said Cogsriff. “Protecting our sought after pedigree wines from bacteria build up as a result of possible chipped and exposed surface areas is a critical part of our processing. We now have a fantastic, fresh clean environment which is impressive for both visitors and staff.”

Cinnamon oil could trump antibiotics in preventing superbugs

As antibiotics become less effective against superbugs, a Swinburne University of Technology researcher has found that cinnamon oil could be part of the solution.

Dr Sanjida Halim Topa has been focusing on traditional agents to modify the behaviour of bacteria rather than killing bacteria.

As part of her PhD studies, she investigated cinnamaldehyde, a major component of cinnamon essential oil.

“Humans have a long history of using natural products to treat infections, and there is a renewed focus on such antimicrobial compounds. Natural products may offer a promising solution to this problem,” Topa said.

She found cinnamaldehyde inhibited the development of biofilm. Biofilm is a sticky film of bacteria, like the plaque that forms on teeth, which causes infections that resist even the most potent antibiotics.

Alternatives to antibiotics to treat chronic biofilm-mediated infections, that may occur with urinary catheters and artificial joints, are urgently needed.

“Though many previous studies have reported antimicrobial activity of cinnamon essential oil, it is not widely used in the pharmaceutical industry,” Topa said.

“We aimed to search for the molecular activity of this oil, focusing on its major component, cinnamaldehyde. This is the compound that gives cinnamon its flavour.”

Rather than killing the bacteria, Topa modified the behaviour of bacteria by disrupting bacterial communication to prevent biofilm formation.

“We hypothesised that using natural antimicrobials, such as essential oils, might interfere in biofilm formation. Thus, we focused on the impact of different concentrations of cinnamaldehyde in different biofilm development stages.”

Topa tested the effect of different concentrations of cinnamaldehyde on biofilms formed from the pathogenic pseudomonas aeruginosa strain of bacteria.

She found that a sub-lethal concentration of cinnamaldehyde controlled the dispersion of pseudomonas aeruginosa and the development of biofilm.

Dr Topa is now investigating embedding cinnamaldehyde in nanofibres in wound dressings.

Topa’s research has been published in Microbiology.

The research was undertaken with colleagues at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.



Food safe cleaning cloth

Rubbermaid’s HYGEN Microfibre is an innovative microfibre cleaning system proven to remove 99.9 per cent of microbes, including C. diff, a bacteria that can cause illness and infection. 

It provides superior cleaning performance and improved productivity to help stop the chain of infection and eliminate the food source for live pathogens. 

The Rubbermaid HYGEN Microfibre system features built-in scrubbers that enable complete dirt removal without smearing. 

It is also compatible with bleach and can be used for dusting or wet cleaning to provide a superior clean.

Food & beverage cleaning nozzle

Built to last with a replaceable white EPDM rubber grip, the heavy-duty hose nozzles from Tecpro Australia are designed to take all the knocks and shocks of everyday food and beverage manufacturing. 

They easily handle up to 16 Bar of water pressure (232 PSI) and can accommodate hot water up to 80°C.  The EPDM rubber cover minimises heat transfer, which makes the nozzle more comfortable for members of the cleaning team to hold. 

The nozzle delivers a high flow, adjustable water pattern that ranges from a narrow jet to a conical spread with a simple twist of the nozzle head. Twist in the opposite direction and it shuts off securely without leaking.

The high quality, white EPDM rubber grip can be easily replaced once worn without the need to purchase an entire new nozzle.

Nestle study shows probiotics foods to assist the immune system

A new study published by Nestle in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology has shown that heat-treated probiotics can act on cells to provide a balance for the immune system.

Probiotics are bacteria that are essential for human immune health, but they are mainly used in foods in a live form. Heat-treating probiotics remove the ability to replicate, a move which could help researchers develop more effective probiotic products such as infant formulas and drinks, with a longer shelf life.

The study explores how live and heat-treated forms of the probiotic affect immune cells through environmental factors.

Lead researcher Dr Carine Blanchard, from the Nestle Research Centre says a probiotic strain can deliver immunity benefits when heat-treated and existing in a neutral state.

“We tested several strains and actually when you heat treat stains for a lot of them the pro-inflammatory signalling goes down…and IL-10 production increases so they move toward a more immune-regulatory profile, so you can change the way probiotic influences the immune system,” Blanchard said.

Researchers found that both forms of the probiotic led to a greater production of interleukin-10 (IL-10), a protein that is vital for immune health in humans, but that the heat-treated probiotic was more effective. 

Good manufacturing practice key to reducing listeria risk

Between 2005 and 2014 more than 586 product recalls were initiated by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), with 198 due to Listeria Monocytogenes contamination, writes Bonnie Tai. 

With meat and dairy more susceptible to contracting the potentially-lethal pathogen than any other food product, FSANZ spokesman Raphael May told Food Magazine that it’s important that plant managers and staff gain a good understanding around the risks associated with Listeria. 
“Basic principles for controlling listeria in food include equipment and facilities that should be designed, constructed and laid out to ensure clean-ability, minimisation of harbourage sites and prevention of cross-contamination,” he says. 
“They should also be controlled to minimise the growth of Listeria Monocytogenes in the finished product, and to reduce the likelihood that the product will be re-contaminated or will support the growth of Listeria during subsequent distribution, marketing and home use.”

Although Listeria has been known for at least 60 years, it has only been linked to foodborne disease since the early 1980s. Since then, the pathogen has become recognised as an important food poisoning bacterium. 
While healthy individuals can become infected with Listeria, the most at-risk are the elderly, the young, pregnant women, and those with a compromised immune system. 

Despite the fact that there are a number of other pathogens that affect the food manufacturing industry, Listeria is perhaps one of the most dangerous. 
This is because the foodborne bacterium – when present in food – shows no difference in taste, smell or appearance; leading people into a false sense of security that the contaminated item is, in fact, safe to eat. 

With its unique ability to thrive and survive in even refrigerated conditions, ranging from below 1°c up to 44°c, Listeria is an organism that can fast become a lethal liability for food manufacturing industries if floor-staff are not properly educated on the dangers of an outbreak. 
So far there have only been two major recorded outbreaks of Listeriosis in Australia, reports Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA).  Once in 1990, when six stillborns, following an autopsy, were discovered to have all been infected with the same subtype of Listeria, found in a particular brand of Pate. 

The next episode occurred in 1991, after three people who ingested the same brand of smoke mussels became violently ill. An unopened packet of mussels was subsequently tested and was found to contain 107 listeria cells per gram – despite industry-dictated ‘safe’ levels sitting at less than 10 cells per gram. 
Sporadic cases still occur in Australia, with around 40 being reported per year. The numbers overseas, however, are significantly higher and the outbreaks much more severe. 

According to the MLA, 86 to 314 cases of Listeriosis were linked to the consumption of branded Mexican-style cheese in the US, resulting in a 30 per cent mortality rate among those infected. The pathogen was later traced back to the factory, and it was discovered that raw untreated milk was added to the pasteurised cheese to enhance flavour. 

As Listeria Monocytogenes is a ubiquitous organism that is found in a wide variety of environmental niches, it can be extremely difficult to eliminate from the processing environment, explained Mr May, and instead particular emphasis should be placed on minimising the risk as much as possible. 
“Data shows the rate of notifications [of Listeriosis] has remained steady over the last 10 years,” he says.
“As it is difficult to completely eliminate the risk…communications campaigns targeted at vulnerable populations, have been developed to improve awareness.”

The steps you can take to protect your plant
Microbial contamination can severely impact a food processing plant’s brand equity, authority and reputation, so it’s vital to follow FSANZ’s two-step approach to reduce the risk of Listeria spread.  
1. Environmental Monitoring 
The food processing environment should be regularly monitored and tested for L. monocytogenes or a surrogate such as Listeria spp. This is particularly important in facilities producing ready-to-eat foods that can support the growth of listeria, and should be undertaken to verify that cleaning and sanitation programs are working and there is control of niches and harbourage sites. 
Sampling and testing methods used should be sufficient to provide confidence that the environment is under control or to help clearly identify that further follow up actions are required. 
2. Process Control
Cross lot testing of finished products should be implemented to assess the performance of food safety control systems from within the plant. This helps to verify that the production and processing controls put in place are working effectively. 

To ensure that corrective actions are being implemented before microbiological criteria is exceeded; a sample schedule should be put in place as appropriate to the operations of the food business.