In late February, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) updated the Manual of Procedures on Listeria.
The result was tougher listeria testing rules for ready-to-eat (RTE) meat plants. The changes took effect April 1.
The main changes are:
1. Operators producing RTE meat products (such as deli meats) must implement food contact surface testing programs
2. Where applicable, operators must also implement the “Risk-based verification sampling of Ready-to-Eat (RTE) Meat and Poultry Products”
3. Operators must perform trend analysis on their test results
4. The CFIA has implemented a food contact surface testing plan in establishments producing RTE meat products (sampling plan M205)
5. Effective April 1, the food contact surface testing plan will be implemented jointly with the product testing plan (sampling plan M200). In 2009-10, the sampling frequency is six times per year per establishment.
Some food safety experts say the changes don’t go far enough to guard against the risk in large companies.