Limagrain Céréales Ingredients (LCI), a seeds and cereal products company, has partnered with Novolyze, a food safety company, to reinforce the microbiological control of its proprietary heat process for flours: Farigel.
In order to confirm the effectiveness of the Farigel process, LCI chose to use products developed by Novolyze. The methodology utilizes harmless bacteria that mimic the behavior of foodborne pathogens under different kind of stress.
“We are honored to partner with a prestigious company of LCI’s stature, as they are the fourth largest seed company in the world,” said Jena Roberts, vice president of business development at Novolyze, in a press release. “Limagrain is a also a unique partner for Novolyze, as they are vertically integrated from seed to flour to cereal ingredients to bakery products. We service the same product categories so this is a very synergistic partnership.”
Preventing foodborne pathogens in flour
Even though foodborne pathogens have a small probability to grow in low moisture foods like flour, they can survive for many years due to the low water activity. Pathogen inactivation is usually obtained by the application of a preventive treatment.
The Farigel process developed by LCI applies a thermal stress on flours and is therefore considered a preventive control for foodborne pathogens like Salmonella or Escherichia coli.
“The Farigel process is the result of several years of internal development and optimization,” said Thierry Desgrousilliers, Quality Manager at LCI, in a press release. “Consequently, it is very difficult to reproduce at a laboratory or pilot scale in order to carry out microbial tests. That is the reason why we decided to use Novolyze’s surrogate organisms. The use of Novolyze’s products allowed us to test the efficacy of our process directly in its specific industrial environment, make validation work extremely straightforward and simple”.
The Farigel process and food safety
A validation project with surrogate microorganisms commonly includes three major steps. The first consists in the definition of a validation strategy. After that, the resistance of the surrogate is verified at lab scale.
“This step is particularly important and determines the whole project validity,” said Roberts. “As a matter of fact, Codex Alimentarius 2008 clearly underlines this point. In the case of the Farigel process, Novolyze performed an experimental study with Limagrain’s flour. This test enabled to verify that the selected surrogate had a similar resistance to foodborne pathogens. The third and last step consisted in performing validation trials directly on the Farigel process at factory scale. The tested flour was inoculated with the Novolyze surrogate and then distributed in the Farigel process. Post-process samples were collected and analyzed, which enabled to calculate the capacity of the Farigel process to inactivate pathogens.”
The results enabled LCI to confirm that the Farigel process was capable of eliminating 5-log of Salmonella. The Novolyze dry surrogate is used in production equipment to create “gold-standard” data for the process validation, which is a pivotal benefit for regulatory inspections. This study reinforced the control of the Farigel process.