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8 February 2008 :EFSA‘s new advices on listeria


EFSA‘s new advices on listeria

The Scientific Panel on Biological Hazards (BIOHAZ) of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) found that after a general decline in the 1990s, listeria was on the rise.  Although the number of large listeriosis outbreaks has declined, the number of human cases of the disease increased by 8.6 per cent in the EU from 1,427 cases in 2005 to 1,583 in 2006.

It is described that Listeriosis is rare, however ii is potential lethal food-borne infection which can kill vulnerable people such as the elderly and pregnant women as well as people suffering from immuno-compromising diseases such as cancer or HIV.

The report of the panel explained that the cause of the most cases of listeria is consumption of ready-to-eat foods which support growth of the bacteria and develop a high concentration of Listeria along the food chain. 

It is recommended that it is necessary for both industry and consumers to concentrate on risk reduction practices during the handling and preparation of food.

 For Industry, surveys have revealed associations with food packaging type, preparation practices such as the use of slicing machines for meat products, storage temperatures, the stage of sampling with respect to shelf life, the lack of an effective HACCP system, and lack of education and training of food handlers.

The report believed that storage temperature at retail and in domestic refrigerators can also vary significantly, increasing the risk of bacteria growth.  Consumers, therefore, are recommended to keep food at recommended storage temperatures at all times, and take note of the shelf-life of food in their refrigerators.

Source : http://www.foodqualitynews.com/news/ng.asp?n=82734-fsa-list-ria