How to improve reliability in your ATP testing.

lab technician doing clean trace safety test

As the demand for rapid food safety testing increases, Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) testing is quickly becoming an industry standard for hygiene monitoring.  Variables such as sensitivity, ease of use, stability of equipment, and reliable technical support need to be considered.

Repeatability is one such critical feature.

Why does repeatability matter in ATP testing?

Repeatability refers to variation in the measurements attributed to the system. Poor repeatability can arise from variability between testing swabs due to manufacturing or storage issues, as well as inconsistencies in instruments. The practical implications are that it can directly impact the prevalence of false positive and false negative results.

A false positive occurs when a test result incorrectly indicates that a high level of ATP is present on a surface. This is a challenge for food and beverage companies, as they then have to re-clean a surface that has already been cleaned, increasing throughput time and cost.

A false negative occurs when a test result incorrectly indicates that a low level of ATP is on a surface. This poses a significant food safety risk, as failing to re-clean the surface could lead to unintentional contamination, which spoils the food process, can put consumers at risk of falling ill, and can lead to product recalls.

The question then becomes how to determine the repeatability of ATP testing solutions to decide which one is right for your facility.

Comparing the performance of different ATP systems.

We tested our 3M™ Clean-Trace™ Hygiene Monitoring and Management System by comparing its results with competitors’ luminometers.

Each luminometer was tested using 10 swabs with a standard concentration of ATP, which should yield a low variation between results indicating that contamination is present. 

For establishing cleanliness in the workplace, the test with the lowest Coefficient of Variation (CV) is most reliable.

Figure 1 below shows the results of the study. The 3M™ Clean-Trace™ ATP Tests revealed a CV of 11.93%, which demonstrates a more consistent level of repeatability.

Conversely, the competitor’s ATP test showed a CV of 84.82% - which means high variability, leading to more false positives and false negatives.3M Clean Trace ATP Comparison Study 1

Figure 2 shows the results of a second study using a competitor’s ATP test. Once again, the 3M™ Clean-Trace™ ATP Test showed a low CV while the competitor’s test yielded a high CV. Yielding a high CV can negatively affect the level of confidence in your test results.

3M clean trace atp system study

A reliable ATP testing option.

The results of these studies show that the 3M™ Clean-Trace™ Hygiene Monitoring and Management System has low variability when detecting standard concentrations of ATP, making it a reliable method for monitoring the cleanliness of surfaces in food processing facilities.

To learn more about 3M Food Safety Testing and to contact a representative, please fill out the form.

About the Author

Ana Maria Lozano

[enBio=A microbiologist by trade, Ana Maria has over 12 years of experience working in the food industry, including dairy products, ice cream, water, condiment and dressing products. Her diverse expertise ranges from quality assurance, quality control, good manufacturing practices (GMPs), good laboratory practices (GLPs), hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) system, and research and development. She’s also an internal auditor of ISO9001 and SQF practitioner. ],[enJob=Professional Services Representative, Food Safety Division, 3M Canada],[frBio=Microbiologiste de profession, Ana Maria possède 12 années d’expérience au sein de l’industrie alimentaire, y compris dans les domaines des produits laitiers, de la crème glacée, de l’eau, des condiments et des pansements. Sa vaste expertise inclut l’assurance de la qualité, le contrôle de la qualité, les bonnes pratiques de fabrication, les bonnes pratiques de laboratoire, l’analyse des risques aux points critiques (HACCP) et la recherche et le développement. Elle est également vérificatrice interne relativement à la norme ISO 9001 et praticienne SQF. Ana Maria joue un rôle actif au sein de la communauté de la microbiologie à titre de membre de l’AMQ (Association des microbiologistes du Québec).],[frJob=Représentante des Services professionnels, Division des produits de sécurité alimentaire, Compagnie 3M Canada]

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