Industrial bakery oven baking bread
For the first time ever, bakers must validate that their ovens actually do kill off harmful microbes.

There’s something new in the neighborhood. It’s not strange, but businesswise, it’s scary. For the first time ever, bakers must validate that their ovens actually do kill off harmful microbes.

Authentication of the kill step in food processing is front-and-center in regulations enforcing the Food Safety Modernization Act — and every food plant must comply. Get the internal temperature up to 200°F, and nothing lives. That’s something every baker knows, but until now, there was no way to prove it scientifically and in a fashion that a Food and Drug Administration inspector will accept. But AIB International found a means to do so.

After much research by a team of top minds assembled by AIB, the hamburger bun protocol is set. Several bakeries already are lined up to test it. Beginning Nov. 3, the method became free to all commercial bakers. Going forward, the team plans to take up similar protocols for muffins, cookies and bread. Although developed specifically for bakery use, the protocol may have benefits for bakery equipment manufacturers, too. The group has talked to a number of vendors, particularly oven manufacturers.

“They are interested in demonstrating the uniformity of the oven’s heat profile for baking,” Brian Strouts, AIB’s vice-president, baking and food technical services, told Executive Editor Laurie Gorton in Baking & Snack’s November issue. “Now, that profile can apply to food safety aspects of the oven. Any oven will have cool spots, and our model builds in this fact. For example, you’ll need to identify the coolest spots in the oven and take temperature readings there, at that cool spot. Such data will also help the oven manufacturer.”

A safer bakery is a better bakery in more ways than one. Contact AIB International at www.aibonline.org for more information.