5 Questions with Patricia Rule

Sponsored Content - ASK THE EXPERTS: Juice Microbiology

Senior Staff Scientist Industry Scientific Affairs Patricia Rule, MS, discusses the microbiological perspective of juice manufacturing. A 35+ year tenured veteran of the food industry, Rule lives by her personal motto, “Give All — Share Openly,” each day at bioMerieux. She is widely known in the industry for her expertise as well as building trusted partnerships and helping customers solve their problems.

October 4, 2019

1 What is today’s juice consumer looking for?

Today’s juice consumer expects a safe and unspoiled product. Brand is flavor, flavor is first, and a safe, quality product is a consumer’s right.

2 What unique microbial challenges does the juice industry face?

One of the biggest challenges isn’t just identifying microbial contaminants, it’s detecting them before release. Each of these organisms has a specific ecology that prefers specific types of media to optimize their growth and increase the chances of detection — before they can spoil your product.

3 How can these challenges be overcome?

bioMérieux has a rapid microbiology platform that provides a simple and elegant solution. Using our high-acid spoilage culture medium, combined with a large sample volume of the juice product, the laboratory essentially creates a custom media for each and every one of its samples. Our system creates a perfect and product-specific environment for spoilage detection and recovery.

4 What are the main factors a juice manufacturer should consider when designing and implementing a microbiological monitoring plan?

The juice industry typically has three highly reliable barriers to product spoilage. These are:

  • High-acid juice,
  • A closed production system, and
  • An endpoint kill step.

The biggest risk to this process is the cleanliness of the raw ingredients. The second biggest risk is complacency. Therefore, leaders must remain vigilant, test with frequency, and test with confidence in your methods.

Good quality programs work to find the failures before they impact the customer. Rapid reliable technology and smart, frequent sampling programs help to provide confident decisions.

5 What can leaders in juice manufacturing expect when working with you and the scientific affairs group at bioMérieux?

One of my greatest scientific joys is working side-by-side with a customer to answer a challenge, solve a problem, and contribute to making good, safe food. As our customer, you can expect multiple layers of support and expertise.

Our goal is to outfit you with the right solutions to fit your needs, protect your brands, and ensure your customers enjoy a safe, quality product.