Maple Leaf to tackle Listeria with newly approved preservative
By Jane Byrne
Source of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Quality-Safety/Maple-Leaf-to-tackle-Listeria-with-newly-approved-preservative
Canadian meat processor, Maple Leaf Foods, said it plans to use a recently approved preservative that stops the growth of listeria for its meat products, following a listeria-related outbreak attributed to one of its plants and linked to 20 deaths.
The rules allow interim use of such preservatives in preparations of meat, meat byproducts, poultry meat, poultry meat byproducts and prepared and preserved fish products at a maximum level of 0.25 per cent of final product weight.
Last week CEO of Maple Leaf, Michael McCain said that Listeria exists in 100 per cent of all meat processing plants and it is impossible to eliminate it.
L monocytogenes is a pathogenic bacterium causing listeriosis, which is a rare but potentially lethal infection that can kill vulnerable people, such as the elderly and pregnant women, as well as those suffering from immuno-compromising diseases like cancer or HIV.
The pathogen can contaminate ready-to-eat meat and poultry during post-processing steps such as slicing, peeling and packaging.
Leaf said that it identified listeria lurking deep
inside two meat-slicing machines as the most likely source of the
contamination, which caused it to shut down its
The meat processor subsequently sanitized the facility, which led the government to permit the company to resume food production on 17 September. However, products are not allowed to leave the site until the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) finishes its testing programme.
Maple Leaf said that since the plant re-opened 841 environmental samples have been taken, with one positive test result for listeria: “This is considerably lower than what normal practice would yield in listeria management programs.”
Officials are taking 60 samples from each production line every day, said McCain.
Leaf said that it has developed a five-point plan for food safety, including
a proposal to strengthen
· Instituting tighter specifications for managing microbiological hazards such as listeria in the plant;
· Enhancing auditing practices to make sure the industry delivers on those high standards; and
· Developing a common approach to sharing data with the public on food safety as a means to increase transparency.
Adjustment of cleaning practices
The team claims that biofilms, which are bacteria that form communities on surfaces, are much more highly resistant to cleaning products and antibiotics.
In their opinion, bacterium such as Listeria's success in persisting in processing environments comes partly from its ability to form resistant biofilms, and partly from its tolerance to drying out, thus enabling it to survive on ‘clean’ surfaces.
The researchers said that they also evaluated the influence of different cooked meat juices including beef, pork, lamb, chicken and duck on the attachment of Listeria to surfaces.
"We found significant differences between the ability of Listeria to stick to stainless steel surfaces at different temperatures, depending upon which meat was used,” said Professor Lisa Dodd. “Cooked duck juices at 25°C allowed the highest levels of Listeria attachment.”
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