Industry Insights

Confectionery Microbiology Testing Keeps Sweets Safe

confectionery microbiology testing

There’s nothing quite like the sweet gratification of digging into your favorite dessert. But nothing can spoil that feeling faster than getting sick from it.

No one wants to experience adverse effects from food, but it seems like an extra blow for it to come from something as decadent as a confectionary product. Not to mention, the microbial contaminants are often nasty pathogens like Salmonella, Listeria, and Clostridium botulinum.

Putting a confectionery microbiology testing program in place can help keep your customers healthy and happy — so that any stomach aches that come from eating your sweet treats are from overindulgence only.

Common Offenders

Some dessert foods are more susceptible to pathogens than others. Cream-based icings, certain types of cakes, chocolates, and nuts all carry higher risk because they use raw or undercooked ingredients. Likewise, any confectionery products that use raw fruits or vegetables may carry a higher likelihood of contamination.

Salmonella is of particular concern in low-moisture foods with high-fat concentrations, such as chocolate. The combination of low moisture and high fat enables Salmonella to pass through the stomach to infect the person eating the product.

Raw materials including cocoa, nuts, milk, and eggs are typically processed by heat before they’re used in confectionery products. Salmonella has high heat resistance in low-moisture foods compared to high-moisture foods when high fat, sugar, or salt are also included. This means that many dessert products have the perfect combination of ingredients to make Salmonella particularly resistant to thermal destruction. It’s recommended that the raw ingredients themselves are properly heat-processed prior to mixing together to create the finished product.

Dried fruit, spices, herbs, and nuts should go through microbiology testing as well to ensure that all ingredients used in a confectionery product are free from microorganisms. Flour and flour-based mixes have also been known to cause Salmonella outbreaks.

Post-Processing Contamination

Once the ingredients themselves are determined to be safe and the confectionery product is processed, there still may be a risk of microbial contamination. High-moisture bakery items are more susceptible to microbiological spoilage by bacteria, yeast, and molds. To ensure the highest level of safety, it’s best practice to have strong sanitation policies in place to limit the exposure of microorganisms to the finished products from the environment and employees.

An environmental monitoring program helps to identify high-risk areas of the facility and check to see if pathogens are sneaking into the manufacturing or packaging process. For the highest level of risk mitigation, add confectionery microbiology testing to the pre-market checklist. This will check your finished product for any microbial contamination that may have occurred throughout the entire supply chain and process.

Partner with a Full-Service Lab for Confectionery Microbiology Testing

Barrow-Agee Laboratories employs experts in the field of microbiology testing. We’ll work with you to set up an environmental monitoring program and test your ingredients and finished products at any stage in the production process.

Our online results portal gives you fast access to test results, which we typically turn around in five days or less. With several industry-relevant accreditations, certifications, and proficiency testing programs, Barrow-Agee delivers accurate results every time.

Contact us to learn more about our microbiology testing services.

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Barrow-Agee Laboratories Staff
Barrow-Agee Laboratories is a laboratory testing services provider for numerous industries that support consumers and businesses alike. Whatever your testing needs may be, Barrow-Agee has the testing solution and support to help you get the results you need.