Since raw foods are not sterile, they are not totally free of all microbial life and neither is it a realistic expectation, Dr. Anelich emphasizes.
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“It is therefore more important to focus on controlling the organism so that is does not become a risk to human health,” she advises. “This includes, among other things, understanding the behavior of L. monocytogenes in food and in a food processing environment, and developing appropriate risk mitigation strategies.”
Prevention of post-processing contamination of food in a manufacturing facility remains key, Dr. Anelich relates, particularly after a product is cooked, meaning that it received a listericidal treatment (kill step).
“L. monocytogenes is known to become persistent in the environment of some facilities and could therefore be a consistent source of post-processing contamination,” Dr. Anelich points out. “A robust environmental monitoring and control program is vital, which would include, amongst other important considerations, hygienic design of equipment and facilities, and an ongoing effective cleaning and disinfection regime.”