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Environmental monitoring programs (EMPs) are a proactive approach that operations may take to reduce microbial contamination events. EMPs are designed to assess the effectiveness of the hygiene and sanitation practices in a food environment and provide valuable information to avoid microbial contamination of food products. EMPs are specific to each operation and depend upon the food(s) that are handled, packed, and or processed; operation size; operation layout; among other factors. If EMPs are effective, operations will be alerted to possible pathogen harborage locations based on positive test results, and operations will be able to implement corrective actions to reduce contamination events. Corrective actions may include targeted cleaning and sanitation of locations/adjacent locations that test positive and implementation of new policies or practices to reduce cross-contamination (for example, new employee or equipment traffic patterns). This publication serves as an introductory guide.

Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

Publication Date

May 9, 2018