Listeria on Ready to Eat Meals Compromises Consumer Safety
Failure to comply with microbiological criteria for Listeria monocytogenes compromises consumer safety. Present in many foods, Listeria spp. can grow at low temperatures, even in the refrigerator. As well as posing a risk on ready to eat (RTE) foods, once in the refrigerator it can spread from one foodstuff to another, significantly increasing the consumer’s risk of infection.
Recent studies in the European Union (EU) and the United States of America (USA), have shown that many RTE products carry the pernicious Listeria bacteria at levels above those approved by regulators. Food business operators must ensure that only foods that do not exceed the Listeria monocytogenes criteria when handled and stored correctly, are put on sale. When limits are exceeded, the risk of the consumer contracting a Listeria infection increases.
SGS has global microbiological testing capabilities for pathogens including Listeria monocytogenes in our accredited network of food laboratories in over 40 countries. We offer traditional microbiological analyses based on national and international standards, but also have the capability for rapid testing based on technologies such as immunological detection, PCR and isothermal amplification.
Listeria monocytogenes causes listeriosis, a rare disease, but with a high fatality rate. Older adults, pregnant women, newborn babies and those with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable. In the USA, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC), estimates Listeria monocytogenes infections result in 1,600 illnesses, 1,500 hospitalizations and 260 deaths annually, in the US.
The food industry can minimize the risk. Implementing correct handling processes, a food safety management system and microbiological testing all have a role to play in managing this infection. Prevention is better than cure. SGS’s trusted third party testing, verification and certification services enable the food industry to trade safe, quality products both domestically and internationally.
For more information, please contact:
Global Food Marketing Manager
291 Fairfield Ave, Fairfield, NJ 07004, USA.
t: +1 973 461 1498
SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 75,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,500 offices and laboratories around the world.