3M Food Safety has introduced a yeast and mold test that cuts the wait for results from the typical five days to two.
The company’s Petrifilm rapid yeast and mold count plate has been tested on fresh peas, sliced apples and other fresh-cut fruits and vegetables, plus frozen and processed applications.
“We have a lot of customers that test fresh produce for yeast and mold,” said Eric Amann, global marketing manager for St. Paul, Minn.-based 3M Food Safety.
“Through a new indicator technology, yeast and molds show up earlier,” he said. “We were able to get the colonies to show up in 48 hours.”
Conventional agar testing methods require five to seven days for incubation of yeast and mold, compared to one- or two-day results on other bacteria.
“If you’re holding product for yeast and mold, you’d typically have five days of production in storage,” Amann said. “If you can get results in two days instead of five, you now only need to carry two days worth of inventory because you’re releasing it much quicker. You have less capital, less cash tied up.”
The new Petrifilm rapid count plate uses a three-step process: inoculation, incubation and enumeration. Incubation can be done at 25 or 28 degrees Celsius. Results show blue-colored yeast and mold colonies. The plate includes new features designed to stop colonies from overlapping or spreading, making test interpretations easier.
What the company describes as a “foam dam” has been added to the new product to make inoculation easier. The original plate had a ridged spreader that had to be centered in the plate.
The technology can also be used for air, swab or surface contact environmental testing.
“The Petrifilm rapid yeast and mold plates lend themselves well to detecting airborne molds,” Amann said. “If you’re getting a spike, the rapid test results allow you to more quickly react to it in the production environment.”
The original 3M Petrifilm yeast and mold plate was introduced in 1990. The five-day product will remain on the market with the two-day.
Pathogens like E. coli or salmonella require pass-fail or zero tolerance testing. Yeast and mold are monitored and measured more as quality indicators.
“(They) won’t harm you but they impact quality, freshness and spoilage,” Amann said.
The broader line of Petrifilm plates includes 16 products, each an alternative to agar testing.