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Episode 7: How to Handle the Discovery of Pathogens in the Facility

Episode 7: How to Handle the Discovery of Pathogens in the Facility

In episode seven of Kellerman Consulting’s Environmental Monitoring Program video series, we turn our attention to what to do when swabbing uncovers the presence of pathogens or spoilage organisms in the facility.

As we stated in our first episode of this series, we do expect to find positive results, and here positive means we have identified the presence of a pathogen or potential presence of a pathogen, when we swab aggressively for these organisms.

Included in our discussion of a response to these positive results are remediation steps including increased cleaning and sanitation, as well as follow up swabbing.

Additionally, we are going to cover trending results which can help us demonstrate control even when we have results that require immediate action.

So let’s start by looking at what steps shall be taken in the facility when a pathogen is discovered during environmental monitoring. Once environmental swabbing occurs in the facility, it usually takes between 1 and 3 days for pathogen testing to conclude, and 5 days for yeast and mold testing. Please check with the lab you are using for exact times.

Within that time frame, testing which identifies the presence of a pathogen will be communicated to the facility as a presumptive positive at first, and the facility can determine whether or not to confirm through a follow up monitoring by the lab.

At the point of discovery of the presumptive positive, so that is the first notification, the safety lead should prepare all of the necessary steps to effectively investigate the scope of the problem, and how to remove the pathogen from the environment. This episode will explore this topic in greater detail.

Since the goal of the environmental monitoring program is to find and remove pathogens when we discover them, it is important to follow up on previous locations consistently to make sure the pathogen is not present in hidden areas and growing or spreading to operations over time.

Each swab event during the timeline of addressing pathogen removal must be properly documented, and it is best to perform a write up of all activities and contacts with laboratories or other outside parties.

In our video series on traceability and recall, we reviewed the process of recalling unsafe products to learn more about how to recall products where environmental pathogens have possibly contaminated the product, please review that series.

Thank you for watching. For free downloads to accompany this video series, visit the free training videos & resources page of our website.

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