The research used a survey tool to analyse the environmental monitoring practices being implemented across the frozen food industry to prevent and control Listeria monocytogenes.
New research funded by the Frozen Food Foundation (FFF), a not-for profit organisation that was founded to support research and education on the nutritional, safety and societal attributes of frozen foods, has evaluated current environmental monitoring practices being implemented across the industry to prevent and control Listeria monocytogenes (Lm).
The University of Georgia (UGA) study used an anonymous survey tool to understand existing environmental monitoring programmes across a variety of frozen food manufacturing facilities. Information from more than 45 frozen food facilities was collected and, while monitoring practices were varied across the industry, the data indicated that facilities were predominantly testing for Listeria spp. in the environment (i.e. walls, floors and drains).
“This study is part of the frozen food industry’s commitment to better understand Listeria in frozen food facilities by reviewing current practices,” said FFF Executive Vice President, Dr. Donna Garren. “This research helps implement the frozen food industry’s science-based environmental monitoring programmes to identify and reduce the risk of Lm.”
“There is a need for facilities to review their sampling strategy including the frequency and timing of sampling,” said lead researcher, Dr. Mark Harrison. “Facilities should focus on looking for Lm at times and in places where they are most likely to find the pathogen for a realistic assessment.”
“Lm is a challenge because of its ubiquity and ability to survive freezing,” said Garren. “UGA’s research will help the industry to identify appropriate sampling locations, timing and frequency to address the potential risk of this pathogen.”
This research will continue throughout 2020 as UGA looks to analyse quantitative environmental monitoring data aggregated from companies to serve as a baseline for future assessments.