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FAO and WHO publish full E. coli and Listeria reports

Experts recommend increased risk assessments for leafy greens, cantaloupe and frozen vegetables

Two final reports on controls measures for E. coli and for Listeria in ready-to-eat food have been unveiled by FAO and WHO. The World Health Organization and UN Food and Agriculture Organization published the complete reports as part of the microbiological risk assessment series.

One report covered Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) in meat and dairy products, while the other meeting in October and November 2020 looked at Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat food.

Listeria findings
The Listeria meeting identified gaps in the FAO/WHO risk assessment model and agreed that updating it would help inform risk analysis strategies. The expert group recommended that leafy greens, cantaloupe, ready-to-eat (RTE) seafood, and frozen vegetables such as peas and corn were the focus of future risk assessments. They noted fresh produce has emerged as an important source of listeriosis.

Efforts should be focused on the management and control of Listeria by having a comprehensive food safety management system (FSMS). A key component is environmental monitoring. Regulatory agencies were advised to use a combination of finished product testing and environmental monitoring to verify proper implementation of control strategies by businesses.

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