Case study: How a dairy processor improved quality with Neogen’s Soleris system

Neogen’s Soleris system is a rapid optical system for the detection of microbial contamination. It’s based on an innovative application of classic microbiology — the assay measures microbial growth by monitoring pH and other biochemical reactions that generate a color change. The results are monitored by the system, which provides an alert for samples that are out-of-specification.

One quality assurance professional in the dairy processing industry with years of experience offered the following comments after implementing Soleris for rapid microbial testing at a creamery.

Q: What was the reason for purchasing the Soleris instrument?

A: To shorten the time lag between packaging and completion of microbiological testing. We were drawn to Soleris because of its rapid results and the fact that it was based on proven standard microbiological methodology.

Q: Have you been able to increase your shelf life on your products since installing Soleris? If so, how do you think you achieved it?

A: Although we haven’t increased our shelf life expectancy at this time, we have substantially increased our percent-to-code rate. This increase has been primarily achieved by tightening the screening of our raw milk supply and the decreased time of screening that comes by using Soleris. In most cases, we can now have a total viable count result from the day’s receipts prior to the next day’s receiving.

Q: Were you able to find new applications for Soleris?

A: As we investigated purchasing a Soleris instrument, we realized we could improve our raw product supply monitoring program, since traditional microbiological methods with their 48-hour delay could mean you would have two days of undesirable receipts in-house before you have results.

Soleris has provided additional peace of mind with its rapid results. We can now have coliform results prior to shipping product without increasing inventory.

Q: Can you provide an example of how Soleris has instilled confidence in your testing?

A: While using Soleris for screening raw ingredients, a controversy involving a subcontractor of our primary supplier ensued regarding their total viable count. We were able to, time and time again, correlate our Soleris results to traditional microbiology and our supplier could not correlate its rapid analyzer to traditional microbiological methods.

It was later reported to me by the supplier’s representative that there were three families of bacteria that would not be picked up by its analyzer. The supplier’s representative was able to determine that several animals on the farm were the source of the problem.

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