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Managing Listeria

The bacterium Listeria monocytogenes (LM) is widely distributed in the environment including soil, surface and spring water, animals, sewage and manure. It can cause serious, potentially fatal illness.


Raw seafood, meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables may have LM, and PrimeSafe licensees must manage the environment and product carefully to keep food products free of LM. 

Good manufacturing practices and a robust cleaning and sanitation program are the backbone of a food safety program for producing safe, LM–free food products. Heat treatment is very effective for eliminating LM from foods and equipment.

Packaged ready-to-eat (RTE) foods with a shelf life of greater than five days and that support the growth of LM must be tested to ensure that LM has been eliminated from the food. RTE foods that do not support the growth of LM must be validated to ensure that growth of LM is inhibited throughout the shelf life of that product (as per the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code).

The table below shows LM limits of packaged RTE foods. For more information regarding sampling and testing, see the National Guidelines for the Management of Listeria.