Ottawa, Ont. – The update of the 2004 policy on Listeria monocytogenes in Ready-To-Eat (RTE) Foods comes into effect on April 1, 2011.
The new policy, developed by Health Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and the Public Health Agency of Canada, is intended to guide processors of RTE foods in verification and control, regulatory oversight and compliance activities regarding L. monocytogenes. It’s also intended to allow for earlier identification of contaminations.
Based on good manufacturing practices and HACCP principles, the updated policy was developed using a health risk assessment approach. It focuses on a combination of inspection, environmental sampling (of both food contact and non-food contact surfaces) and end-product testing to verify control of L. monocytogenes in RTE foods.
Other changes to the new policy include:
• End-product compliance criteria, which are similar to the International Codex Alimentarius Commission standards, have been added;
• The definitions of RTE foods that may support the growth of L. monocytogenes have been modified;
• Details on environmental testing and end-product testing have been modified. An environmental monitoring program should be included in all plants where RTE foods are produced.
• It encourages the use of post-lethality treatments and/or L. monocytogenes growth inhibitors.
• It encourages more awareness of and guidance on exposure to L. monocytogenes through RTE foods in institutions with high-risk consumers.
For more information on the new policy visit Health Canada.