Canada releases updated policy on Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat foods

Food Safety News

Health Canada has released an updated version of its “Policy on Listeria monocytogenes in Ready-to-Eat Foods,” which replaces the previous version from 2011.

The updated policy 2023 was created by Health Canada with input from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the Public Health Agency of Canada to safeguard the health and safety of Canadians. The updated policy is designed to provide guidance on activities related to Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat foods for effective control measures, ensuring the early identification of Listeria in food processing environments. The policy takes into account the roles and responsibilities of government, industry and consumers.

The Listeria policy will be effective beginning Oct. 1 with the previous version of the policy remaining effective until that date. The Food and Drugs Act and Regulations apply to all food sold in Canada, including food traded at interprovincial and intraprovincial levels, whereas the Safe Food for Canadians Act and Regulations apply primarily to imported or exported food or food traded interprovincially or territorially for commercial purposes.

Health Canada is responsible for administering the Food and Drugs Act’s provisions related to public health, safety and nutrition. The updated Listeria policy is intended to support the interpretation and application of the Act. Health Canada’s policy provides guidance on the manufacturing, preparation, packaging, preservation and storage of food for sale under unhygienic conditions, and the sale of ready-to-eat foods containing Listeria monocytogenes exceeding the specified levels may be considered a violation of the Food and Drugs Act.

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