Frequently Asked Questions

Actero™ Enrichment Media

General Information, Use and Applications

What is the difference between Actero™ Elite Enrichment Media and Actero™ Universal Enrichment Media?
FoodChek™’s Actero™ Elite Enrichment Media (Actero™ Elite) is a patented bacterial growth medium for the detection of Listeria species (spp.), Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella spp. The advantages of Actero™ Elite are:

a.  the sample enrichment timeline phase is up to 30% to 70% faster to achieve results;
b.  single-step enrichment that reduces sample handling; and
c.  specific for the target microorganism despite competing flora.

These advantages result in remarkable savings in time – improved workflow, higher throughput of samples and release products sooner to the market. Actero™ Elite can be used by ANY food processor involved in food safety pathogen testing regardless of what testing system they use. You only need to validate the food or environmental sample by using Actero™ Elite on the particular testing system prior to implementing its use in your food safety program.

FoodChek™’s Actero™ Universal Enrichment Media (Actero™ Universal) consist of over 130 standard media formulations that can be used in any testing system for the detection of Listeria spp., Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella spp., yeasts, molds, and coliforms. The advantages of Actero™ Universal are: (i) high quality; (ii) accurate for the target microorganism; and (iii) competitive pricing.

Both Actero™ Elite Enrichment Media and Actero™ Universal Enrichment Media are manufactured in the United States and Europe with high quality ingredients to ensure optimal performance and integrity of product.

What is Actero™ Elite Enrichment Media?
Actero™ Elite is a patented bacterial growth media that makes the sample enrichment timeline phase up to 30% to 70% faster to achieved results. Actero™ Elite can be used by ANY food processor involved in food safety pathogen testing regardless of what testing system they use.

Why would I use Actero™ Elite?
Actero™ Elite can reduce time and cost in your food and environmental testing through single-step enrichment, fastest “time-to-results”, and is selective for the target microorganism. The high performance and accuracy of Actero™ Elite also reduces false positives and false negatives in test results; further saving time, cost and food waste in the testing process.

Has Actero™ Elite been validated by independent certifying organizations?
AOAC
Actero™ Elite Listeria has received AOAC Performance Tested Method (PTMSM) certification under License Numbers 111201, 061701, 061702, and 061703. Actero™ Elite Salmonella has received AOAC Performance Tested Method (PTMSM) certification under License Number 041403.

AFNOR
Actero™ Elite Listeria has received AFNOR certification under Certificate Number EGS 38/05-03/17.

Health Canada
Actero™ Elite Listeria has received Health Canada method approval under MLFP-79 and is published in the Compendium of Analytical Methods.

How long is the enrichment incubation period for Actero™ Elite?
It depends on the micoorganism and sample being enriched. FoodChek™ has found that Actero™ Elite incubation times are dramatically faster at up to 30% for Listeria and up to an amazing 70% for Salmonella when compared with competitors and official test methods.

How many Actero™ Elite products are available?
FoodChek™ currently offers six Actero™ Elite formulations: E. coli, Listeria, Salmonella, Salmonella/STEC, STEC, and mTSB.

Who would use Actero™ Elite or Actero™ Universal?
Commercial testing laboratories, fresh food processors and meat packers who perform any food safety pathogen testing on food or environmental samples.

What packaging formats can Actero™ Elite or Actero™ Universal be purchased in?
Depending on the product, they come in dehydrated (powder) formats of 500g, 2KG and 10KG; liquid formats of 5L, 10L and 20L. The Actero™ EZ-Media Bag is in a flat bag, dehydrated (powder) format and rehydrates to 5L and 20L of liquid media.

How do I get a sample of Actero™ Media?
You can request a sample through the FoodChek™ website on the Contact page or through one of FoodChek™’s distributors.

Can FoodChek™ customize packaging of Actero™ media to fit my facility’s requirements?
FoodChek™ will work with you to optimize product packaging for your facility and is normally a request for large volume customers. We can also provide quotations for special situations.

Can I schedule automatic shipments of Actero™ Media to make sure I do not run out of material?
Yes. To start scheduled shipments or standing orders of Actero™ products, go to our Contact page or one of FoodChek™’s distributors.

How do I obtain Actero™ Technical Data Sheets, Safety Data Sheets (SDS), Product Information Sheets or Certificates of Analysis?
They are available on the FoodChek™ website at www.foodcheksystems.com/products for each of our products, as applicable.

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Preparation/Reconstitution, Sampling and Storage

What grade of water should I use to reconstitute the dehydrated (powder) Actero™?
Always use microbiological quality water (Type 3). Ideally, the water should be distilled, deionized, or passed through a reverse osmosis system. Tap water should not be used because of impurities.

What are the recommended storage conditions for Actero™?
The dehydrated medium should be kept at 12 to 25 degrees C, in tightly closed bottles, in a dry and well ventilated place, and protected from direct light. The expiry date is indicated on the package. If the medium has been autoclaved, it can be stored at 2 to 8 degrees C for up to 45 days, in tightly closed bottles and in a cool dry place. If the medium has NOT been autoclaved, it should be used immediately.

What is the shelf life of the product once it has been opened?
There is not an established shelf life of the product once it has been opened because of various storage conditions from one place to another. Humidity, temperature, the number of times that the bottle has been opened, etc., are among some of the parameters that could affect the medium after several months. However, as long as the appearance of the product does not change and it is still free-flowing, you can use it.

Does light affect the performance of the medium?
The medium is light sensitive; however, it can support normal light for a few days. The exception is the Actero™ EZ-Media Bag as this product is subject to discoloration and must be stored in its foil pouch, away from light when not in use.

How do I protect the medium from light?
You can put the prepared medium in amber or opaque bottles that are specifically designed to prevent the light to enter the container. You can also wrap the clear bottles with aluminum foil or store the prepared medium in boxes and close the top.

How long is the enrichment incubation period for Actero™ Elite?
It depends on the organism and sample being enriched. FoodChek™ has found that Actero™ Elite incubation times are dramatically faster at up to 30% for Listeria and up to an amazing 70% for Salmonella when compared with competitors and the official test methods.

The Actero™ Listeria Enrichment Media has been left at room temperature overnight. Could this affect its performance?
The Actero™ Listeria Enrichment Media will not be affected by a few days of storage at room temperature.

The package inserts for Actero™ Listeria Enrichment Media specifies that the medium should be pre-heated to 29, 32, 35 or 37 degrees C. How long can the media stay pre-heated?
The medium can be pre-heated overnight (16 to 22 h) at 37 degrees C without any problem.

What are the best conditions for preparing Actero™ Salmonella Enrichment Media?
Add the dehydrated medium to the water and set your hotplate/stirrer to 190 degrees C and shake for 5 to 10 minutes, then autoclave. This should be enough to reach the optimal dissolution.

Can we supplement the Actero™ Salmonella Enrichment Media several days prior to utilization?
Yes, the supplemented broth is stable for two (2) months when stored at 2 to 25 degrees C and away from light. However, be sure to add the supplements in aseptic conditions to avoid bacterial contamination.

At what point does the malachite green get added to the Actero™ Salmonella Enrichment Media?
The malachite green supplement is added after the autoclaving, just prior to use.

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Quality Control (QC)

Is Actero™ performance QC tested?
Yes, each lot of Actero™ is quality and performance tested. Certificates of Analysis (COA) are available on the FoodChek™ website with the product listings or can be obtained upon request through our Contact page.

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Performance and Appearance Issues

Is there a stable, target pH value for the prepared Actero™ Listeria media?
After preparation and autoclaving, the pH should be at 7.0 ± 0.2.

We observed a little deposit in our 5L Actero™ Elite Listeria MediaBox™. Is this normal?
It appears that, over time, a very thin deposit can occur. In this case, it could be enhanced by the fact it is a 5L MediaBox™ instead of a 1L, which we usually work with. However, when you mix the bottle or the bag, this light deposit should completely dissolve in the medium. If not and you still see turbidity, it is likely due to bacterial contamination. If this happens, do not use the MediaBox™.

We notice a little precipitate in the bottle after preparing the Actero™ Salmonella Enrichment Media. Is this normal? Does this affect the performance of the media?
Yes, it is normal to observe a slight precipitate after preparing the media and the precipitate does not impact performance. However, we recommend that you swirl the bottle to disperse the precipitate prior to dispensing the prepared media into your samples.

Over time in using the Actero™ Elite Salmonella Enrichment Media, we have seen this type of precipitate variation from lot to lot. Is this common and to be expected?
Concerning the precipitate, it is effectively common with this medium and little variations between lots are expected. Although, be assured that each lot is thoroughly tested to ensure they reach the highest standard of quality and performance.

Sometimes we observe an insoluble film or precipitate after autoclaving (110 degrees C for 15 minutes) the media. Is there any way to avoid this? Does this affect the performance of the media?
The insoluble film you are seeing after autoclaving may be caused by overheating of the medium or more probably by use of glassware that is not perfectly cleaned and rinsed. This could be caused, for example, by the salt or the detergent used in the dishwasher or if the glassware was not rinsed with the appropriate water. So, when the problem occurs, verify your sterilization and cleaning process to be sure that it is still effective and follows protocols, as this may have an impact on the performance of the media.

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General Problem Solving

Glassware Cleaning

  • Is your glassware clean?
  • Are there no residues or visible particles?
  • Are you using a dishwasher?
  • Did you verify that your dishwasher is working well?
  • Did you wash the bottle by hand and then use it to prepare the medium?
  • Have you tried another dishwasher?
  • Have you tried another lot of detergent when you washed the glassware?
  • Did you rinse your glassware after washing?

Water

  • Did you use the appropriate water? (Type 2 water is good)
  • Did you verify the conductivity of the water when you took the water from the system?
  • Did you try water from another source to prepare the medium?
  • Are you using reservoirs to store water and are the reservoirs clean?

Sterilization

  • Did you verify that your autoclave is properly working?
  • Did you try to sterilize the medium with a different autoclave?

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