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Archived - Record of Decision: Sampling and Testing Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for the Presence of Listeria monocytogenes

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This page was archived due to the coming into force of the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations. Archived information is provided for reference, research or record-keeping purposes only. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. For current information visit Food.

April 17, 2013

Originator

Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Program

Subject

Sampling and Testing Fresh Fruits and Vegetables by the CFIA for the Presence of Listeria monocytogenes, Based on Health Canada 2011 Policy on Listeria monocytogenes in Ready-to-Eat (RTE) Foods

Question or Description of Problem

  1. Which Fresh Fruit and Vegetables are in the scope of the Health Canada 2011 Policy on Listeria monocytogenes in Ready-to-Eat (RTE) Foods (hereafter referred to as the Listeria policy)?
  2. What specific information is needed on the sample submission form?
  3. How will the laboratory analyse samples?
  4. Who should be notified when Listeria monocytogenes is detected in a Fresh Fruit or Vegetable?
  5. What are the follow up activities when Listeria monocytogenes or Listeria spp. is detected?

Decision

A. Which Fresh Fruit and Vegetables are in the Scope of the Health Canada Listeria Policy?.

1. Ready-to-Eat (RTE) Fresh-Cut Fruits and Vegetables
RTE fresh-cut fruits and vegetables are covered by the Listeria policy and therefore should be tested for the presence of Listeria monocytogenes. These RTE foods could have the potential to support growth of the organism and as such they are further categorized as:

Category 1:
RTE Fresh-Cut fruits and vegetables:

Category 2A:

Category 2B:

* Stated shelf life, also referred to as durable life date in the Listeria policy, and can be calculated using the packing date (obtained from the company) and the best before date stated on a package of a food.

2. Non-RTE Fresh-Cut Fruits and Vegetables
Non-RTE fresh-cut fruits and vegetables are not covered by the Listeria policy. Non-RTE fresh-cut produce with cooking instructions (e.g. soup mixes, stew mixes) are products which are further processed to eliminate Listeria monocytogenes in the final product. However, certain fresh-cut products which bear cooking instructions are still covered by the Listeria policy. For instance, fresh-cut products which have not received a lethal process and which can be eaten raw, e.g., sliced mushrooms and certain cut vegetables for barbecuing commonly found in RTE trays are still included in the scope of the Listeria policy because the cooking instructions are simply options for consumers. Product labelling, therefore, cannot be used as the sole criterion to determine inclusion or exclusion from the Listeria policy.

3. Raw Whole Fresh Fruits or Vegetables
Raw whole fresh fruits and vegetables (including fresh herbs, leafy vegetables, spinach, and sprouts) are not covered by the Listeria policy.

B. What Specific Information is needed on the Sample Submission Form?

C. How will the Laboratory Analyse Samples?

Laboratory analysis

 

Monitoring and directed end product samples

Category 1 presumptive positive samples will be enumerated individually for the purpose of data collection.

Monitoring and directed environmental samples:

D. Who should be notified when Listeria monocytogenes is detected in a Fresh Fruit or Vegetable?

E. What are the Follow-up Activities when Listeria monocytogenes or Listeria spp. is Detected?

Consult the Follow up Guidelines for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables when Listeria is detected in end product and/or in environment.

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