The EU’s proposed potential changes to Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) legislation (CFA News #56) continue to attract attention. It is understood that next year (2023) the EC will engage with Member States to seek a common understanding of the rules. A recent European Court case has raised clarifying points regarding the interpretation of criteria and, could result in major changes to Lm criteria in the EU Microbiological Criteria for Foodstuffs Regulation 2073/2005 and, potentially, to established effective approaches to shelf life validation and verification of ongoing control.
The expanding Industry Listeria Group (ILG) run by Karin Goodburn comprises more than 30 CFA members, UK trade associations, retailers and the European meat processors’ association (CLITRAVI). The ILG’s Position has also been endorsed by the European Chilled Food Federation and is broadly supported by the European Salmon Smokers’ Association.
The Position on the potential changes opposes challenge testing to set shelf life rather than established methods such as storage trials combined with data streams from Day of Production and End of Life sampling coupled with environmental monitoring data. Given the common root cause of listeriosis outbreaks being insufficient environmental hygiene controls, specific guidance for FBOs and enforcers on effective environmental sampling and the use of data gathered is being developed by CFA to support the Position.