ACMSF recommends ‘universal’ adoption of CFA principles (26 September 2008)

CFA welcomes the call by the UK Government’s Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF) for ‘universal adoption’ of hazard analysis and HACCP principles set out in CFA’s Best Practice Guidelines for the Production of Chilled Foods (4th ed), and urges their universal enforcement.

ACMSF’s Ad Hoc Group on Vulnerable Groups reported today on evidence relating to the increased incidence of human Listeria monocytogenes infection in the elderly.

ACMSF recognises the efficacy of the professional chilled prepared food manufacturing industry’s measures to minimise Listeria monocytogenes contamination of foods and their clear differentiation from the approaches of other sectors.

CFA’s Guidelines are the only referenced industry document in the report:

Para 5.9 (part): “Chilled ready to eat foods are produced using HACCP principles that aim to identify where the hazard can occur in the manufacturing process and at what steps measures can be put in place to eliminate the hazard or reduce it to an acceptable level (CFA, 2006)”.

Stressing the importance of industry compliance with ‘recognised’ industry standards the report recommends the ‘universal adoption’ of HACCP principles which are enshrined in the CFA guidelines:

Para 5.32 and 6.39: “The principles of food safety management through the application of hazard analysis approaches such as HACCP are well established in the food industry. Universal adoption of these principles by the manufacturing catering and retail industry, together with effective enforcement, are recognised ways of ensuring food safety.”

The report (paras 5.12, 5.17) clearly differentiates between producers of chilled, ready-to-eat food operating to current recognised industry standards and catering and retail outlets that are not necessarily subject to the same controls as those employed by major manufacturing units operating high/low risk principles.

Listeria is minimised by careful selection of high quality raw materials, strict hygiene measures during processing, storage at low temperatures and thorough heating where appropriate. CFA members – professional chilled food manufacturers – take great care to control potential risks from Listeria monocytogenes by following good manufacturing practice at all stages.

The Chilled Food Association’s Best Practice Guidelines for the Production of Chilled Food (2006 4th edition) were developed by the Association in conjunction with retailers, distributors and Government scientists, many of whom are experts in the control of Listeria monocytogenes. The Guidelines set out in detail the procedures to be followed to ensure the safety and quality of the finished product. Compliance with the Guidelines is mandatory for all CFA Members.

26 September 2008