Today, FDA released revised draft guidance on listericidal food controls. Listeriosis can cause fever, chills, severe headaches, vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea. Severe cases can lead to septic shock, meningitis, encephalitis, and death.
Listeria monocytogenes is a troublesome pathogen because it can grow in refrigerated temperatures and because it is tolerant of high salt environments such as brine. It also survives frozen storage and acid conditions and is more heat resistant than many other non-spore forming foodborne pathogens. Moreover, listeria can persist in equipment and in the processing environment, which can in turn lead to recontamination even after an initial listericidal control process.
The revised draft guidance addresses personnel safety, plant design, design and maintenance of equipment, general sanitation, process controls, environmental monitoring, sampling, process validation, and corrective actions.
FDA notes that the risk of listeria monocytogenes contamination is not uniform across all ready-to-eat foods. The following types of food pose a particular risk: unpasteurized and pasteurized milk, high fat dairy products, soft unripened cheese products, Cottage Cheese, Cream Cheese, Ricotta, cooked ready-to-eat crustaceans such as shrimp and crab, smoked seafood, fresh soft cheese such as Queso Fresco, semi-soft cheese such as Blue, Brick, and Monterey, soft-ripened cheeses such as Brie, Camembert, and Feta, deli-type salads, sandwiches, fresh-cut fruits and vegetables, and raw molluscan shellfish.
Comments are due in mid-June. Please contact us if you would like to participate in this rulemaking process.