Research – Production of safer food by understanding risk factors for L. monocytogenes occurrence and persistence in food processing environments

Wiley Online 

Abstract

Listeria monocytogenes is a foodborne pathogen that causes listeriosis, a relatively rare gastrointestinal disease with a high mortality rate. As L. monocytogenes is ubiquitous in the environment, control of the organism in food processing environments is necessary to prevent cross‐contamination of the food from the environment. In this study, the outcomes of a survey of management practices at 32 food processing facilities were statistically correlated with the occurrence and persistence of L. monocytogenes using multiple regression analyses and logistic regression analysis. No management practices correlated with persistence, while training of staff by management or external trainers, and separation of hygiene control areas correlated with a reduction in L. monocytogenes occurrence. The importance of management practices in reduction of L. monocytogenes in food processing environments was identified. Wider implementation of these practices could contribute to reduction in the occurrence of L. monocytogenes in food processing environments, facilitating production of safer food.

Practical applications

This study highlights that management practices can decrease the occurrence of L. monocytogenes in food processing environments, helping with the production of safer food. In particular, segregation of areas close to food contact and relevant training of staff by management are important. If applied, these simple practices could help with reduction of L. monocytogenes in food.

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