The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Advisory Committee will convene on December 7-8 to discuss FDA’s policies specifically related to the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in foods. The committee is one of several FDA Advisory Committees made up of outside experts who provide advice and recommendations to the agency on various regulatory, technical and scientific issues.
Of particular interest to IDFA members, the committee will be tasked with providing feedback on whether FDA’s 2008 draft tolerance level of 100 colony-forming units per gram of food is appropriate for ready-to-eat (RTE) foods that do not support the growth of L. monocytogenes. In addition, the committee will consider the agency’s draft 2008 Guidance for Industry on Control of Listeria monocytogenes in refrigerated or frozen RTE Foods and evaluate whether or not changes should be made with regard to the recommended steps to be taken when a single Listeria spp., or Listeria “species," positive result is found on a food contact surface.
In addition, the committee may be charged with reviewing and evaluating available data and making recommendations on matters such as the safety of food ingredients and new foods, labeling, nutrient needs, nutritional adequacy and safe exposure limits for food contaminants. The committee may also be asked to provide advice and make recommendations on ways of communicating to the public the potential risks associated with these issues and on approaches that might be considered for addressing them.
Interested persons are invited to submit written or oral comments to the committee. IDFA is planning to prepare brief comments on the various initiatives the dairy industry is currently undertaking or recently completed to enhance ongoing efforts to control Listeria monocytogenes in food production environments.
IDFA is also working through the Alliance for Listeriosis Prevention to provide additional oral comments to the committee. The Alliance, which first formed in 1995, is made up of organizations with an interest in strategic approaches to the prevention of listeriosis, including food industry trade associations and individual food companies.
IDFA members with any questions may contact John Allan, IDFA’s vice president of regulatory affairs and international standards, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 220-3519.