Food Production

Introduction

The provision of microbiologically safe drinking water depends on assessing the risks and putting in place effective control measures. Most companies as we understand, use Drinking Water Plans[1] and risk assessment for this. The European Commission funded project Aquavalens aims to support this approach by delivering techniques for pathogen detection and the capability for on-line monitoring of indicator bacteria. 

Currently, the research from Aquavalens has developed a number of rapid molecular biology based techniques. Such methods include; molecular biology techniques that can detect particular pathogens to a higher taxonomic resolution, the ability to track the source of faecal contamination, an on-line early warning system to detect indicator bacteria and an improved pathogen recovery technique that allows for the combined concentration but separate recovery of bacteria, viruses and protozoa from the sample.
 
[1] WHO, Water Safety Plan Manual [2009]

Objective

Aquavalens is particularly interested in the how pathogens are monitored in water used by those involved in food production. In this survey we have concentrated on water used in crop irrigation and washing of produce, but are interested in any other water you may use when processing food. The purpose of this questionnaire is to find out how you may use investigative methods to detect pathogens in water to support a risk assessment approach to managing safety of water on a microbiological level. Understanding your needs will allow us to establish how the new methods can support your monitoring practice and how you can benefit from certain  technologies. 
Questions 10-25 concentrate on whether or not you test the water used in irrigation, washing produce and water as an ingredient. If you use water in any other process please do let us know using the box provided in Q10.
 
Please note this is a confidential survey. If you wish, you can remain anonymous and fill out your answers with as much detail as you see necessary. 
 
 
Please answer as many questions as you can.
Thank you for taking time to participate in this survey 


 

Questionnaire

* 1. Please can you give some information on your geographical location and country. 

Your Current Testing Practice

* 2. Are you involved in:

* 3. Where does the water come from which makes contact with food?

* 4. Do you test the microbiological safety e.g. test for bacteria and viruses, of water used in the following processes? Please select

Irrigation water - If you do not use water for irrigation please skip to Q11 for water used washing produce/as an ingredient.

* 5. Where does your water come from?

* 6. Hazards which could lead to microbial contamination of a water supply (e.g. farm run off) can be identified by making a water safety plan. What do you see as the main microbiological hazards affecting the water supply you use to irrigate crops? Please list the top 3.

* 7. Do you test irrigation water for pathogens? If so, where in the water processing. 

* 8. Which species of Bacteria, Viruses and Protozoa have you detected? (This is a confidential survey)

* 9. How often do you test the water?

* 10. What volume of water do you test?

Washing Produce and water as an ingredient

* 11. Where does your water come from?

* 12. Hazards which could lead to microbial contamination of a water supply (e.g. farm run off) can be identified by making a water safety plan. What do you see as the main microbiological hazards affecting your water supply? Please list the top 3.

* 13. Where in the water supply network do you collect samples for pathogen testing?

* 14. Which species of Bacteria, Viruses and Protozoa have you detected?

* 15. How often do you test the water for pathogens?

* 16. What volume of water do you test?

* 17. Please list any other water samples you may test for pathogens, and specify how it is involved in food production.

* 18. Please list below any quality assurance schemes or associations you are a member of which ensure microbiological safety of the water used in the produce, such as the Chilled Food Association or Assured Produce.

* 19. Which standards, legislation or protocols do you refer to when ensuring the water you use is free of pathogens, such as Assured Produce Protocols? Please list. 

Aquavalens water testing offers
Aquavalens have developed molecular biology based techniques to detect protozoa such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia. These species can go undetected in the water but can still cause serious health problems if consumed[1]. Is this something you have thought of monitoring? How might the testing for protozoa benefit you?
 
[1]L. Amorós et al. (2010) ‘Cryptosporidium oocysts and giardia cysts on salad products irrigated with contaminated water’ Journal Food Protection,73 (6) 1138-1140.

* 20. Would this be of benefit to you?

* 21. Where would you apply such a method?

To ensure food safety new methods could provide the ability to identify particular pathogen types beyond species level, so you can detect specific genotypes.

* 22. Would this be of benefit to you?

* 23. Where and when would you apply such a method?

An on-line system which can rapidly detect an increased burden of microbiological contamination has been developed.

* 24. Would this be of benefit to you?

* 25. Where and when would you apply such a method in your system?

Aquavalens has improved the method for pathogen recovery from the water. Separate methods can be used to a isolate a particular group of pathogens, be it bacteria, viruses or protozoa, from the filter.

* 26. Would this be of benefit to you?

* 27. Where and when would you apply this method in your system?

* 28. What are your main challenges in microbial testing at the present time and how would you like to overcome them?

* 29. What improvements would you like to see made to pathogen testing in the future?

* 30. Would you like to be informed about the Aquavalens dissemination work in 2016-2017? Please leave your email address in the box below.

Thank you for taking the time to fill out our survey.
Please be sure to hit the done button when finished.
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