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Quality Control in the Food, Beverage and Water Industries – using ATP for Monitoring the Presence of Contamination

Written by Janice M on . Posted in Hygiene & Quality Control

ATP Meters and swabs are able to monitor the presence of contamination on surfaces and in water, including the presence of food residue, allergens and bacteria.

The chief advantage of this method of hygiene monitoring is that results are available in seconds – it is the quickest way to make real-time decisions and to take corrective action immediately.

ATP is a product residue test and is not a cultural microbiological test for bacteria. If more detail is required about the type and quantity of contamination, then more extensive and time consuming tests can be performed.

What is ATP Hygiene Monitoring?

ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is the universal energy carrier that is found in all living organisms – animal, plant, bacteria, yeast and mould cells.

Samples are taken using swabs with a luciferase reagent. A luminometer then measures the amount of light generated and provides information on the level of contamination in 15 seconds.

The presence of ATP indicates the presence of contamination and also implies a potential for support of bacterial growth. It is thus a detailed indicator test of hygienic status and potential risk.


Corrective Measures that can be taken:

  • A water treatment plant could increase the disinfectant dose or dispose of water with a high bacterial count.
  • A swimming pool may decide to close if the water quality poses a risk to public safety.
  • In the Food & Beverage Industry, measures can be taken to prevent food poisoning, such as re-cleaning. The effective removal of product residue from working surfaces not only removes micro-organisms, but also removes product residue that could support the growth of micro-organisms. An optimized cleaning system can reduce food waste, improve shelf life and provide savings in chemical usage. It assists in the implementation of HACCP procedures.
  • For surface tests, swabbing should be done after cleaning a surface, but prior to the application of a sanitizer. The sanitizer is then most effective.

The application of ATP bioluminescence has been established for over 30 years and provides a direct measure of cleaning efficiency, hygienic status and risk.

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Historical comments (3)

  • personal best reassessed


    It’s going to be finish of mine day, except before end I am reading this
    fantastic article to increase my knowledge.

    • Janice M


      Good to hear, we also like to learn new things.

  • Ice Cream Machine


    I really like reading an article that will make men and women think.
    Also, many thanks for permitting me to comment!

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