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CFIA to release stricter listeria rules

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency will soon release new, stricter listeria-testing protocols. The new protocols follows the listeriosis outbreak linked to Maple Leaf Foods lunchmeat products, which claimed 20 lives and sickened hundreds, according to reports.

Reports said the protocols include: 

  • Mandatory testing of plant surfaces such as countertops and meat slicers, as well as non-contact surfaces such as drains and ceilings by company staff. Testing frequency will vary by production levels. 
  • Testing (mandatory) - of ready-to-eat meat products by CFIA inspectors at least three times annually.
  • When plant surface testing yields two subsequent positives, food must be quarantined and tested for listeria. 
  • A rule requiring companies to report a trend of positive listeria findings to government inspectors, which had been dropped in April this year, will be brought back in.

A CFIA spokesman has stated that the protocols have not been finalised and there is no set implementation date as yet.
 

Natalie Berkhout

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