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I have a test that my previous manager started, but unfortunately resigned before the results were completed. I assisted her with this project in which we are trying to validate our cook process on our butter toffee peanuts for salmonella. Our initial step was to apply the lactic acid starter culture into a whole batch of raw peanuts prior to cooking. We took 3 samples of the raw product for testing (stage 1). We then took 3 more samples (stage 2) after the temperature was 98°F.  10 mins later we pulled 3 more samples at 215°F (stage 3). Finally, right at the time the product was completely cooked 15 mins later 320°F, another 3 samples were pulled (stage 4). In all, we collected 12 samples that were inoculated with Saga lactic acid starter culture 40g of lactic acid to 400g of water 1:10 ratio. I have attached the results to this email. (1-3) represent the raw samples prior to any thermal processing. (4-6) represent the samples at 98°F. (7-9) represent samples pulled at 215°F. Finally, (10-12) represent the finished product at 320°F.


We are trying to validate based on a 5log reduction, although the only sample that was 5log was the sample at 190,000 cfu/g. I am considering doing the process again because I cannot safely say that I can achieve a 5log reduction with this cook step when only one sample was actually starting at 5log. The rest of the raw batch is 4log reduction to <10 cfu/g. In your professional opinion do you think that would be the best practice to repeat the process until I can consistently say that the cook step at over 300°F will validate the process or we will have extremely low risk at this process level. Let me know your thoughts on this validation.



Samples 1-3 = (31,000 cfu/g, 67,000 cfu/g, 190,000 cfu/g)             Raw


Samples 4-6 = (820 cfu/g, 990 cfu/g, 840 cfu/g)                              98°F


Samples 7-9 = (<10 cfu/g, <10 cfu/g, <10 cfu/g)                               215°F


Samples 10-12 = (<10 cfu/g, <10 cfu/g, <10 cfu/g)                           320°F



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