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Industry Collaboration, Education Key to Controlling Listeria

Dec 02, 2015
Industry professionals take part in a recent Dairy Plant Food Safety Workshop.

IDFA submitted comments on Monday to the Food and Drug Administration’s Food Advisory Committee (FAC), which is meeting next week to review and make recommendations regarding FDA’s current policies and guidance related to Listeria monocytogenes (“Lm”) in food. In the comments, IDFA highlighted the industry’s education, outreach and research efforts that are designed to enhance the control of Listeria in dairy food production environments. IDFA also said FDA’s enforcement approach should be based on the level of risk.   

The FAC is one of several FDA Advisory Committees comprising outside experts who provide advice and recommendations to the agency on various regulatory, technical and scientific issues. 

Committee members 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 Listeria 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 species. positive result is found on a food contact surface.

IDFA is a member of the Alliance for Listeriosis Prevention (ALP), a group of food industry associations and individual food companies with an interest in promoting science- and risk-based policies to prevent Listeriosis. The Alliance plans to present oral comments during the FAC meeting next week that will reflect the written comments the group submitted to FDA in August.

FDA has indicated that it will issue new guidance related to environmental monitoring for Listeria monocytogenes in draft form for public comment before finalizing. IDFA expects the draft guidance to be released sometime in the first half of 2016, but if FDA decides to update its 2003 Listeria risk assessment with data gathered from more recent outbreaks, this release could be delayed. 

For more information, contact John Allan, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs and international standards, at

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