September 30, 2022
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Foods

FAO and WHO call for experts and data on Listeria monocytogenes

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The FAO and WHO seek data and expert assistance for work on Listeria monocytogenes.

A Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) assessment will support amendments to the Listeria guidelines in the Codex.

The Joint Expert Meeting of the Microbiological Risk Assessment (JEMRA) will assess the risk of Listeria in food.

The assessment will include vegetables, cantaloupe (also called Rockmelon), frozen vegetables such as peas and corn and gravad (sugar-salt marinated) salmon and halibut, which will allow listeria growth, but will not be limited. .

Update required for evaluation
Since the past FAO and WHO operations, outbreaks of listeriosis have continued to occur and are being associated with previously undiagnosed food vehicles, including fresh and minimally processed fruits and vegetables.

In 2020, JMRA met to discuss Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat foods, to review recent data, and to evaluate the need to modify or develop new risk assessment models and tools for this pathogen.

The expert group recommended raising future risk assessments in different product subgroups and considering a farm-to-farm assessment. They identified several gaps in the current risk assessment model and agreed that it would help inform updated risk analysis strategies, including for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

A proposal to conduct a farm-to-table risk assessment on JMRA Listeria monocytogenes was supported in March 2022 by the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene. The FAO and WHO have decided to hold an expert meeting on this subject which will inform about possible future revisions of the Codex. Food hygiene guidelines for controlling Listeria in food.

Selected specialists will attend a meeting of the Microbiological Risk Assessment of Listeria monocytogenes in the diet and may be added to the JEMRA roster valid for future work until December 31, 2022. Selection of participants will begin on June 30, 2022 and continue. Until enough suitable candidates are identified.

Data required
The FAO and WHO also require information on Listeria monocytogenesis in foods such as the availability of risk assessment models and tools, monitoring data on Listeria in food and the prevalence of Listeriosis plus exposure assessment and risk characteristics data.

Data may come from governments, food industries, academia, consumer groups, laboratories, healthcare providers, and other interested organizations. These details can be submitted anytime until September 1, 2022.

The FAO and WHO recently launched a call for experts and data to cover Salmonella and Campylobacter in chicken. Expert selection begins in June. Data can be submitted anytime until September 1, 2022.

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