In comments filed yesterday with the Food and Drug Administration, IDFA supported the agency’s efforts to develop guidance on the control of Listeria monocytogenes (Lm.) in ready-to-eat foods and welcomed its focus on encouraging food companies to conduct regular testing. Noting several points that need increased flexibility and clarification, IDFA encouraged FDA to continue working with industry to ensure that the final guidance would reflect the collective experience of all stakeholders.
“We are strongly committed to collaborating with FDA to ensure that our members have the best available information regarding listeria control, so we can ensure food safety for our consumers,” IDFA said.
FDA released the draft guidance, “Control of Listeria monocytogenes in Ready-To-Eat Foods: Guidance for Industry,” in January to provide FDA’s current thinking and encourage companies to use robust environmental testing procedures to continue to ensure safe food products. The guidance emphasizes prevention, which is the central focus behind the Food Safety Modernization Act, and aims to allow the industry to be more aggressive in seeking out and destroying listeria in the production environment before it can find its way into food products.
In the comments, IDFA stressed that FDA’s guidance should take more of a risk-based approach, allowing flexibility for food production facilities to focus their Listeria control measures and verification activities on programs and procedures that will achieve the greatest public health protection. IDFA also commented on a need for greater clarity or flexibility related to root cause analysis, timing and frequency of testing, and a variety of other specific recommendations from FDA.
Members who have questions or want more details may contact John Allan, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs and international standards, at email@example.com.