Limagrain Céréales Ingrédients and Novolyze boost flour safety

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Picture: iStock. Novolyze validated the Farigel process can inactivate Salmonella
Picture: iStock. Novolyze validated the Farigel process can inactivate Salmonella

Related tags: Microbiology, Bacteria

Limagrain Céréales Ingredients (LCI) has partnered with Novolyze to reinforce the microbiological control of its proprietary heat process for flours.

LCI wanted to confirm effectiveness of the Farigel process for Salmonella and used SurroNov 1830, a dried and ready to use version of E. faecium ATCC 8459.

The Farigel process developed by LCI applies a thermal stress on flours and is considered a preventive control for pathogens like Salmonella or E. coli.

LCI was able to confirm it was capable of eliminating 5-log of Salmonella. ​Validation of the process means the firm has the scientific basis to confirm lethality of their system.

Mimicking pathogens

Novolyze’s methodology uses harmless bacteria that mimic foodborne pathogens under different stress.

jena roberts novolyze
Jena Roberts, VP of business development at Novolyze

The firm said Limagrain chose Salmonella for the flour project because SurroNov 1830 is the ‘best proven’ organism to mimic Salmonella in flours. Inoculation of the surrogates with flour was by blending.

Jena Roberts, VP of business development, said both companies view the first project as a milestone that could lead to a stronger relationship.  

“The FSMA and HACCP rules emphasize verification and validation to insure process control that can effectively kill a microbial hazard at the critical control points,” ​she told FoodQualityNews

“The new SurroNov dried surrogate enables flour millers to validate their actual production process via SurroNov without introducing moisture into the production equipment with liquid surrogates.

The surrogate bacteria developed by Novolyze have a slightly higher resistance compared with the target pathogens to kill. Our surrogates, because they are not pathogenic, can be used directly in-plant or at a pilot scale to conduct tests. The introduction of a pathogen in an industrial environment is strictly forbidden.​”

Industrial environment testing

Novolyze performed an experimental study with Limagrain’s flour. The test verified the selected surrogate had a similar resistance to foodborne pathogens.  

Thierry Desgrousilliers, quality manager at LCI, said the Farigel process is the result of years of internal development and optimization.

“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.

“This is the first time we objectively confirmed that our process is capable of inactivating foodborne pathogens. We give ourselves a little more time before launching new tests with the same method.”

Tested flour was inoculated with the Novolyze surrogate and distributed in the Farigel process.

Post-process samples were collected and analyzed which enabled calculation of the capacity of the Farigel process to inactivate pathogens.

Growth and survival

Limagrain Céréales Ingrédients (LCI)

Limagrain is specialized in seeds and cereal products. Limagrain is the fourth largest seed company in the world and second largest French baker. The company’s revenues reached €2.6bn in 2016.
Limagrain Céréales Ingrédients (LCI) is one of the 13 different business units of Limagrain group. LCI transforms every year more than 200,000 tonnes of cereals for different food markets: bakery, snacks, breakfast cereals, ready meals, dairy products and nutrition. The company has more than 250 employees and six production sites.

Foodborne pathogens have limited possibility to grow in low moisture foods like flour but they survive due to low water activity. Pathogen inactivation is usually by a preventive treatment.

With the Novolyze dry surrogates, firms can put it in their production line instead of validating a mock-up of their kill step in a lab.

A validation project with surrogate microorganisms commonly has three steps.

The first is the definition of a validation strategy, then resistance of the surrogate is verified at lab scale before the last step of performing validation trials at factory scale.

“In the past, companies like LCI validated their process with liquid surrogates or pathogens in a mock-up of the kill-step in a lab or they would introduce moisture into the in-plant equipment with liquid surrogates,” ​said Roberts.

“Neither option provides solid data for regulatory reviews of low-moisture food validations. Liquid surrogates introduce moisture which changes the food matrices. Our dry SurroNov surrogates do not introduce moisture thus facilitating validation of in-plant equipment.”

Roberts said flour companies like the ability to pour SurroNov directly into their processing line for validation of their kill step for Salmonella or E. coli.  

“LCI used SurroNov at their microbial kill-step. However, surrogates can be used at other stages of the production process,” ​she said.

“Other clients have used SurroNov to verify sanitizer effectiveness. A number of clients have used SurroNov during R&D trials in their pilot plant to understand the impact of new ingredients or a new process on the lethality of their process.”

Related topics: Regulation & Safety, Ingredients

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