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CAFIA inspections revealed non-compliant parameters of 48% of ice-creams and 65% of beverage ice

08/19/2021
 

Ongoing results of inspections carried out by the Czech Agriculture and Food Inspection Authority (CAFIA) in this season showed that a number of operators failed to follow production procedures prescribed for the production of scooped and soft serve ice cream as well as ice for beverages. Significant part of the samples taken failed to comply with legislation requirements, especially as regards limits for the presence of bacteria. Such foodstuffs represent a risk for consumers’ health. The proportions detected this year are the highest compared to the results in the last 5 years.

In the period up to 15th August 2021, a total of 48.5% of ice cream samples and almost 65% of ice samples for beverages were failing.

The inspections are focused, inter alia, on keeping of safety and quality parameters of the foodstuffs in question including the equipment for their preparation. Inspectors carried out inspections mainly in confectioneries and other public catering premises.

In 2021 CAFIA inspectors have evaluated 97 samples of soft serve and scooped ice cream so far, out of which 47 (approximately 48.5%) did not meet hygiene limits. As regards ice cream samples, laboratory analyses confirmed numbers of colonies of Enterobacteriaceae family bacteria above the limit. The main cause of the unsatisfactory results can be considered insufficient sanitation of ice cream production equipment as well as contaminated raw materials. Insufficient staff training can also play a role. One of the characteristic causes of the problem with soft serve ice cream is undesirable practice of operators consisting in returning the ice cream into to the machine the next day and not disposing it at the end of the previous day. This procedure may cause transmission of bacterial contamination from the machine into the ice cream mixture and back. Vanilla flavour is the most frequent non-compliant sample, which could be attributed to the fact that this flavour belongs to the most spread one.

During the inspections carried out in 2020, 51% of the evaluated samples failed to comply with legislation requirements compared to 37% in 2019, 20% in 2018, and 26% in 2017.

In this season (again by 15th August 2021), CAFIA inspectors have completed evaluation of 34 ice samples used into beverages so far, out of which 22 (approximately 64.7%) did not meet health or hygiene limits. The monitored parameters included occurrence of Escherichia coli, Clostridium perfringens, enterococci, coliform bacteria, bacterial colonies growing during 22°C a 36°C, and presence of living organisms (such as flagellates). The main cause of the unsatisfactory findings can be underestimation of hygiene practice during the production of ice and ongoing disinfection of ice makers.

During the inspections carried out in 2020, 51% of the evaluated samples failed to comply with legislation requirements while 40% failed in 2019, 47% in 2018, and 45% in 2017.

The results of this year's and previous year’s inspections show that a significant part of operators still significantly underestimates the risks related to neglecting of hygiene procedures during production, storage and sale of this assortment, and related violation of hygiene limits for microorganisms, which lead to violation of hygiene limits for presence of microorganisms and possible threat of consumers’ health.

However, the share of non-compliant samples cannot be generalised for the entire market, because CAFIA selects the samples according to a sophisticated risk analysis and problematic establishments are therefore checked more frequently. However, even problem-free operators are checked, albeit in a lower frequency.

In establishments where CAFIA inspectors took the unsatisfactory samples, ban on the use of equipment was imposed on the spot (e.g. on the use of ice makers, ice cream machines and further tools) and the operator was ordered to perform sanitation and subsequent microbiological analysis by an accredited laboratory. The inspectors will allow using the equipment again only after a satisfactory result of the analysis.

CAFIA will initiate an administrative procedure on imposition of a sanction with the operators concerned.

 

Article by: Mgr. Pavel Kopřiva – CAFIA Spokesperson, phone:+420 542 426 633 

19th August 2021