EC changes to Listeria regulation ‘will not improve food safety’

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Goodburn: 'We can see no obvious public health or sustainability benefit to the changes'
Goodburn: 'We can see no obvious public health or sustainability benefit to the changes'

Related tags: Listeria monocytogenes, Food safety

New European Commission (EC) proposals to change Listeria monocytogenes legislation threaten food safety and risk creating waste, according to the Chilled Food Association (CFA).

The changes would require challenge testing to set shelf life – rather than the established and ‘proven effective’ Day of Production (DoP) and End of Life (EoL) approach currently used in the EU and the UK, coupled with storage trials.

The move would particularly affect chilled foods made on the Continent, where shelf lives are substantially longer than those in the UK’s tightly controlled local market. But changes would also impact export to the EU.

The CFA warned of increased waste as a result of consequent reduced shelf lives, as well as increased prices from highly specialised and ‘narrowly applicable testing’.

Proven methods

CFA director General Karin Goodburn explained: “The systems the UK chilled food sector has in place to detect and control Listeria have worked extremely well for the last 16 years since the EU Regulations came into force.

“This is illustrated in our more than 3m datapoints on Listeria – the largest data set of its type in the world. This is just one way in which we are able to prove that what is being proposed will not improve food safety.”

Another flaw Goodburn found in the EU’s approach was that it only covered the testing of food and did not address critical hygienic control of the food production environment.

No health benefit

“We can see no obvious public health or sustainability benefit to the changes and will continue to lobby the EC to retain the DOP/EOL and storage trial approach as it is demonstrably highly effective,”​ he added. “In short, when it comes to European Listeria legislation – it’s not broken, please don’t fix it!”

Earlier this year, the CFA established a pan-industry group to respond to the proposals when they first came to light.

Formed of trade associations, CFA members and retailers – and also liaising with European Federations including the European Chilled Food Federation – the group is gathering information and intelligence to present to the EC to show that the proposed changes are not necessary for food safety, but the originally agreed approach that was adopted by the UK, is.

Meanwhile, last month, the Food Standards Agency revealed that there is strong support for its proposed changes to modernise the way inspectors carry out ‘official controls’ in meat plants.

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

Safeguard confidence in the beverage supply chain

Safeguard confidence in the beverage supply chain

Lloyd's Register | 22-Sep-2021 | Technical / White Paper

Earlier this year, leading food safety certification and assurance provider, Lloyd's Register, commissioned a survey of 100 senior executives in the...

Industry 4.0 speaks OPC UA

Industry 4.0 speaks OPC UA

Lenze Ltd | 28-Apr-2021 | Technical / White Paper

OPC UA (Open Platform Communications Unified Architecture) is an industrial machine-to-machine (M2M) transfer protocol, certified according to the IEC...

How to improve your food supply chain

How to improve your food supply chain

Columbus | 26-Nov-2020 | Technical / White Paper

For the food industry, disruptions, such as political events, health-related incidents and supply shortages, can wreak havoc. And with customer expectations,...

Related suppliers


Post your comment

We will not publish your email address on the website

These comments have not been moderated. You are encouraged to participate with comments that are relevant to our news stories. You should not post comments that are abusive, threatening, defamatory, misleading or invasive of privacy. For the full terms and conditions for commenting see clause 7 of our Terms and Conditions ‘Participating in Online Communities’. These terms may be updated from time to time, so please read them before posting a comment. Any comment that violates these terms may be removed in its entirety as we do not edit comments. If you wish to complain about a comment please use the "REPORT ABUSE" button or contact the editors.