Given the environmental and financial impact of a contamination event, home and personal care manufacturers should develop and be committed to a contamination control strategy. This consists of designing and implementing controls around your cleaning, batching process, and product filling to reduce contamination.
Environmental monitoring (EM) is all about evaluating risk in your manufacturing facility. EM sampling sites should include water sources, air, and equipment surfaces – places that can harbor microorganisms. EM programs help you establish a state of control of your manufacturing sites and supports quicker response and remediation of a contamination event.
How often you monitor will depend on your risk – some areas may need more frequent testing than others. Risk levels can fluctuate over time in your manufacturing sites and may require reassessment. For example, EM can uncover seasonality of microorganism growth in the summer versus winter months. By identifying seasonal changes in your facility’s resident microbiota, you can adjust your cleaning and sanitisation program to minimise risk of microbial contamination.
Monitoring your EM data, including colony counts and identifications, can help you assess microorganism fluctuations in your environment. Without knowing the resident microorganisms in your facility, every contamination event puts you at square one to identify the cause. If you don’t find the source and take corrective action, the manufacturing system can get contaminated again and again.
A microbial control plan can help mitigate contamination events when they happen. Facility design, manufacturing processes, and cleaning methods are critical aspects in documenting your state of control. Utilise your Quality Control team to develop and implement an EM program with microbial alert and action levels throughout the facility. Establishing an EM program will allow you to take control of your manufacturing process and help ensure your product quality.