Research – Novel Approaches to Environmental Monitoring and Control of Listeria monocytogenes in Food Production Facilities


Listeria monocytogenes is a serious public health hazard responsible for the foodborne illness listeriosis. L. monocytogenes is ubiquitous in nature and can become established in food production facilities, resulting in the contamination of a variety of food products, especially ready-to-eat foods. Effective and risk-based environmental monitoring programs and control strategies are essential to eliminate L. monocytogenes in food production environments. Key elements of the environmental monitoring program include (i) identifying the sources and prevalence of L. monocytogenes in the production environment, (ii) verifying the effectiveness of control measures to eliminate L. monocytogenes, and (iii) identifying the areas and activities to improve control. The design and implementation of the environmental monitoring program are complex, and several different approaches have emerged for sampling and detecting Listeria monocytogenes in food facilities. Traditional detection methods involve culture methods, followed by confirmation methods based on phenotypic, biochemical, and immunological characterization. These methods are laborious and time-consuming as they require at least 2 to 3 days to obtain results. Consequently, several novel detection approaches are gaining importance due to their rapidness, sensitivity, specificity, and high throughput. This paper comprehensively reviews environmental monitoring programs and novel approaches for detection based on molecular methods, immunological methods, biosensors, spectroscopic methods, microfluidic systems, and phage-based methods. Consumers have now become more interested in buying food products that are minimally processed, free of additives, shelf-stable, and have a better nutritional and sensory value. As a result, several novel control strategies have received much attention for their less adverse impact on the organoleptic properties of food and improved consumer acceptability. This paper reviews recent developments in control strategies by categorizing them into thermal, non-thermal, biocontrol, natural, and chemical methods, emphasizing the hurdle concept that involves a combination of different strategies to show synergistic impact to control L. monocytogenes in food production environments.

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