Food Safety Magazine

News | April 22, 2014

FSIS Issues Guidance on Controlling Listeria in Retail Delis

By Staff

FSIS Issues Guidance on Controlling Listeria in Retail Delis

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) yesterday published a guidance document to aid retail delicatessens in controlling Listeria monocytogenes. The agency is soliciting public comments on the guidance through June 20, 2014.

Best Practices Guidance for Controlling Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) in Retail Delicatessens provides specific actions that retailers can take in the deli area to decrease the potential for Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) growth or cross-contamination of ready-to-eat (RTE) meat and poultry products. In particular, the guidance covers:

  • Actions identified by the Interagency Retail Lm Risk Assessment that can decrease the predicted risk of listeriosis from deli products;
  • Information from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Code, scientific literature, other guidance documents, and lessons learned from meat and poultry establishments that retailers can use to control Lm;
  • Steps retailers can take to help ensure that deli products are maintained under sanitary conditions that do not allow Lm adulteration of the product; and
  • A self-assessment tool that retailers can use to determine what practices they are currently using and what new practices to adopt to control Lm.

According to FSIS, these materials highlight recommendations that are based on an evaluation of retail conditions and practices in the Interagency Risk Assessment Listeria monocytogenes in Retail Delicatessens (Interagency Retail Lm Risk Assessment), as well as information from the FDA Food Code, scientific literature, other guidance documents, and lessons learned from Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) verification sampling and review of sanitation programs for Lm in meat and poultry processing establishments.

This guidance represents FSIS’s current thinking on this topic and should be considered usable as of this issuance. A final version of this guidance will be issued in response to public comments.

FSIS requests that all interested persons submit comments regarding any aspect of this document, including but not limited to: content, readability, applicability, and accessibility. The comment period will be 60 days, ending June 20. The document will be updated in response to comments.

Comments may be submitted via Regulations.gov (use ID number FSIS_FRDOC_0001-0355) or by mail (send to Docket Room Manager, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), FSIS, OPPD, RIMS, Mail Stop 3782, Patriots Plaza 3, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Mailstop 3782, 8-163B, Washington DC 20250-3700).

All items submitted by mail or electronic mail must include the Agency name and title of the guidance document.