Food Safety & Quality Blog
Mérieux NutriSciences is dedicated to helping companies worldwide find practical solutions to today's food safety and quality challenges throughout the supply chain.

Technical Tuesdays: Where is Listeria Lurking in The Food Industry?

Posted by Dave Evanson

April 25, 2017 at 10:00 AM

shutterstock_117224119.jpgThose with lengthy careers or students of food microbiology history may recall the original Listeria Hysteria in the 1980s. While Listeria monocytogenes was responsible for an outbreak associated with fluid milk earlier in the decade, the Jalisco Cheese-related outbreak in 1985 was a major eye opener for the food industry. In the ensuing years, multiple dairy products were found to contain Listeria monocytogenes. A few years after that, the Ready-to-Eat (RTE) meat industry was the center of attention relative to reported incidents of contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. Over the next few years, fruits, vegetables, seafood, deli salads and other products were also found to contain Listeria monocytogenes.

Using numerous studies and investigational information from outbreaks, an industry consensus emerged. Listeria monocytogenes contamination in food items was primarily due to cross-contamination in the production environment. Specifically cool, moist environments were identified as the “usual suspects” for Listeria monocytogenes to hide out and grow in. 

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Topics: Food Safety, Environmental Monitoring, Regulations, Pathogens, Listeria, Pathogen Testing

Technical Tuesday: Using Whole Genome Sequencing to Better Decode Listeria Outbreaks

Posted by L. Scott Donnelly, Ph.D

March 14, 2017 at 1:00 PM

whole_genome_sequencing_blog.jpgThe practice of whole genome sequencing (WGS) has received a great deal of attention in the food industry and among industry trade associations in recent years. Whole genome sequencing is a process that uses laboratory methods to determine or map the complete DNA sequence of an organism’s genome. Each microorganism has a unique genetic fingerprint that can be identified and traced using WGS. 

Disease detectives use WGS as an important tool in foodborne illness outbreaks and recall situations. It provides genetic information about the germs (microorganisms) making people sick. This information improves our ability to detect, investigate and stop future foodborne outbreaks.

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Topics: Environmental Monitoring, Environmental Control Program, Pathogens, Preventive Environmental Monitoring, Whole Genome Sequencing, Foodborne Illness, Listeria

The Maturity Model for Environmental Monitoring – Making Existing Plans Better

Posted by Tim Freier, Ph.D.

February 28, 2017 at 1:00 PM

maturity_model_blog.jpgBack in 1999, I started contributing as a developer and instructor for the “Advanced Listeria monocytogenes Intervention and Control Workshop,” presented by the American Meat Institute, which is now called the North American Meat Institute (NAMI). During the first few meetings, I took great interest in learning how each of the major US meat and poultry Ready-to-eat (RTE) manufacturers were conducting their Environmental Monitoring Programs (EMPs). A pledge by industry executives to keep food safety a non-competitive issue enabled open sharing, which brought some intense discussions as we worked towards a consensus of what constituted the true best practices for EMPs. This open forum, combined with a close collaborative interaction with the USDA- FSIS, allowed the US RTE meat and poultry industry to make tremendous strides in reducing the risk of L. monocytogenes. 

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Topics: Environmental Monitoring, Preventive Environmental Monitoring, Listeria, Maturity Model

Regulatory Round-Up: Strategies for Controlling Listeria in Ready-To-Eat Foods

Posted by Patrick Kennedy

January 26, 2017 at 10:00 AM

rte regulatory blog.jpgIf you are subject to the final rule, Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food (PCHF rule), then you should be aware of FDA’s new recommendations for controlling Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat (RTE) foods. Manufacturers, processors, packers and holders of RTE foods will benefit from an understanding of the strategies and recommendations described within the new draft guidance. 

Released this month, the draft guidance sheds light on the agency’s thinking regarding effective strategies for controlling L. monocytogenes in RTE foods, including identifying the risks associated with raw materials and ingredients, listericidal process control, environmental monitoring, product testing, and the analysis of verification data trends.

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Topics: FDA Regulation Updates, FDA, Pathogens, Preventive Controls, Listeria, Ready-to-Eat Foods, CGMPs, Hazard Analysis


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