United Fresh offers free listeria guide

Two recent outbreaks have demonstrated the vulnerability of some fresh and fresh-cut operations to listeria harborage leading to product contamination. Some customers and supplier operations have implemented listeria testing programs without a good understanding of their scientific validity. While the processed foods industry and FDA have long had guidance for listeria monitoring and control, guidance applicable to the unique conditions of fresh produce handling operations has been lacking, according to the United Fresh Produce Association.

The United Fresh Food Safety & Technology Council has developed a document, “Guidance on Environmental Monitoring and Control of Listeria for the Fresh Produce Industry,” that helps guide the fresh produce industry in developing practical and scientifically sound "search and destroy" programs for listeria. The guide is free and available online for United members and non-members.

The guide is applicable to all fresh and fresh-cut produce operations, including field and field packing, packinghouse and other produce handling operations such as re-pack, value-added and transport/distribution to retail/foodservice. All produce handling operations are encouraged to use this guide to determine their level of vulnerability to listeria harborage that may lead to produce contamination, and if vulnerable, to develop and implement an effective listeria monitoring and control program.

To download a free copy of the “Guidance on Environmental Monitoring and Control of Listeria” for the Fresh Produce Industry, visit the United website. If you have questions regarding food safety, contact David Gombas at 202-303-3411.

Originally posted Monday, Jan. 6, 2014

Tags: food safety, listeria, united fresh