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Control of Listeria in RTE Seafoods

“Control Strategies for Listeria monocytogenes in Food Processing Environments”

Funded under the National Food Safety Initiative in 2000 by the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service of USDA, Project Number 00-51110-9768

Based on the results of the research and extension activities conducted under this project, a specific manual on control of L. monocytogenes in smoked seafood operations was developed, as part of this project, by the Smoked Seafood Working Group (SSWG), a joint working group of the National Fisheries Institute (NFI) and the National Food Processors Association (NFPA). The SSWG "Listeria Monocytogenes Control Manual" is available here.  Four peer-reviewed papers supporting this manual are at the end of this paragraph.  This control manual was incorporated into AFDO's model "Cured, Salted, and Smoked Fish Establishments Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)" through an update in May 2004 (Docket No. 2005N - 0065); AFDO, the Association of Food and Drug Officials, is a national organization which represents federal, state, and local government regulatory officials.

In addition, three specific training programs were developed for this project to help processing plants establish and implement improved science based L. monocytogenes control programs. These training programs are designed for use in the plant, to train employees who conduct specific activities that are integral to the successful implementation of a program, to reduce and prevent Listeria monocytogenes contamination of RTE seafood products.

The following questions are addressed in these training programs:

  • What is Listeria monocytogenes?
  • Why is Listeria monocytogenes a concern for a food processing plant?
  • Where can you find Listeria in a processing plant?
  • How does Listeria spread throughout a plant?
  • How does one control Listeria contamination in a processing plant?
  • What do plant employees need to do to control and prevent L. monocytogenes contamination?
  • What types of cleaning and sanitation procedures are required?
  • How does a plant prevent cross contamination within their processing facility?

Each of the three training programs consists of a set of PowerPoint slides that can be used by management to train their employees.  Each slide is accompanied by an extensive set of “speaker notes” designed to help plant management deliver an effective training program. These training programs are available on-line. Please click on the training program of interest to view the material on-line or download each presentation to your computer.

These training programs were designed by Ken Gall, NYSG Seafood Specialist, in collaboration with Doris Hicks of the University of Delaware and Cornell University, New York Sea Grant, University of Maryland Sea Grant, Virginia Tech, Louisiana State University, the National Food Processors Association and the National Fisheries Institute.