Last updated on 18 September 2013
FSA tender into listeria growth and survival
The Food Standards Agency is inviting tenders for research that will help identify how vacuum and modified air packaging will affect the growth and survival of Listeria monocytogenes.
It will also look at how measures to reduce it may conflict with advice regarding control of Clostridium botulinum. The information will assist with the Agency’s Listeria Risk Reduction Management Programme, directed at reducing the risk of listeria to humans.
L. monocytogenes is responsible for the largest number of deaths from foodborne disease in the UK and has been identified as a key pathogen requiring action by the Agency. A tailored risk management programme has been developed to focus effort and identify the appropriate intervention points in the food chain. In addition, communication strategies have been developed to ensure the effective delivery of information to high risk groups about risk and avoidance of L. monocytogenes.
Vacuum or modified air packagings are highly effective ways of preventing food spoilage. The current guidance on shelf-life of chilled vacuum or modified air packaged products focuses on C. botulinum as being the main microbiological risk to the consumer. However, other pathogens, such as L. monocytogenes, may also be capable of surviving the packaging processes.
This project will commission a literature review, and conduct predictive modelling on how vacuum and modified air packaging affect the growth characteristics of L. monocytogenes. The foods to be focused on will most likely be ready-to-eat smoked fish and seafood, and cold sliced meats. These are products that are commonly packed in this way and are associated with both L. monocytogenes and C. botulinum contamination.
The literature review will identify whether there are any conflicts with the current advice relating to C. botulinum in chilled vacuum and modified air packed products. It will distinguish whether this guidance needs to be revisited or whether advice relating to L. monocytogenes in products packaged in these ways, need to be developed.
A systematic and critical review of literature will be able to provide the majority of the information necessary to carry out this project. In addition, predictive modelling packages may be used to simulate different products and assess the growth of L. monocytogenes under these conditions.
How to apply
Applications should be submitted online using our electronic procurement system by the closing date of 13 November 2013. To find out more about this call for tender, you will need to register as a supplier on ePPS via the link below.