Control of Listeria within ready-to-eat foods

Project title: Demonstrating control of Listeria within ready-to-eat foods
Member Funded Research project number: 149858

Why are we undertaking this project?

Approaches that demonstrate control of Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat foods have different values in terms of the strength of evidence they provide. It can be difficult to predict how the competent authorities view the various pieces of evidence and exactly what a food business operator must do to demonstrate effective control where challenge testing, for example, suggests growth can occur.

What are we doing as part of this project?

Evaluating the growth potential of Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat foods with the use of challenge test and durability studies and develop a scoring system for showing effective control of this organism.

Current status of the project

A survey has been carried out to find out if people are aware of the EU regulation 2073 in relation to Listeria control in products and following on from that how effective control is demonstrated. The results showed that 87% of respondents used environmental monitoring in order to demonstrate Listeria control, 69% used routine testing and 40% used predictive modelling and 40% challenge testing. A large proportion 94% thought that the development of a grading system to rank each of these ways of demonstrating control would be useful.

Practical testing

A number of Listeria challenge studies have been carried out. This includes cooked meat products- two products from two sites, two raw fish products for use in sushi, and two dip type products. Predictions have been run for these products and the routine and environmental monitoring data supplied. This data is currently being analysed.

A further 10 products will undergo Listeria challenge testing in the coming weeks. This is milk, cream, two cheese products, three dairy desserts and three smoked fish products. Predictions will be run and the routine and environmental monitoring data will be supplied

All of this data will then be used to help develop the grading system.

Steering group

A steering group has been formed consisting of 23 members. These include manufacturers, retailers and relevant authorities. An on line meeting is scheduled for March to introduce the project and discuss progress to date and enlist help in guiding the production of the document.


Project timeline

Jan 2020 - Dec 2021

Project outputs

MIG updates and webinars

Project updates

Related categories to this project

Hygiene Microbiology

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