New US guidance from the FDA will help keep RTE foods free from bacterium Listeria monocytogenes
Listeria is dangerous to pregnant people and the elderly
The FDA has announced a revised draft entitled: “Control of Listeria monocytogenes in Ready-To-Eat Foods.”
Listeria monocytogenes can grow in various settings, including cold environments. They are particularly harmful to those who are pregnant, the elderly and those who are immunocompromised.
The guidance is intended for anyone subject to the FDA regulation entitled “Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food” and who manufactures, processes, packs, or holds ready-to-eat (RTE) foods.
When finalised, the revised guidance will represent the current thinking of the FDA on this topic. It is not binding, so alternate approaches may be used if they satisfy all applicable regulations.
The guidance could help prevent contamination of RTE food with L. monocytogenes whenever a RTE food is exposed to the environment prior to packaging.
This is for when packaged food does not receive a treatment or include a control measure that would significantly minimise L. monocytogenes (such as a formulation that is lethal to them).
The FDA will consider comments on the draft guidance before issuing the final version. The deadline for suggestions is July 26, 2017. Electronic comments can be submitted to the Federal eRulemaking Portal, at https://www.regulations.gov