Listeria monocytogenes likes cold temperature, so is a significant potential problem in food factories with cold equipment and processes.
These businesses must include specific controls in their food safety programs to address the potential presence of Listeris in their cold equipment or food.
The food needs to be tested for Listeria prior to release to ensure it is not present.
As Listeria is easily killed by heating, this can be used to ensure that cold rooms are clear of this pathogen. This can be done by clearing the room of stock, and cleaning as per usual requirements. Then heaters are brought in and the room heated to 50°C and held at that temperature for a prescribed time to kill the pathogen. The room is then cleaned again as per the usual requirements. The cold room is then returned to operating temperature and the food returned.
For more information on Listeria monocytogenes – https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/publications/Documents/Listeria%20monocytogenes.pdf
The following was posted on the Food Safety News website on 16 July 2019 and show just how big a Listeria based recall can be – https://www.foodsafetynews.com/2019/07/nationwide-recall-includes-dozens-of-products-many-sent-to-regional-grocery-chains/
Dozens of hummus products sold under several grocery brands as well as others are under recall after Listeria monocytogenes was found at a manufacturing facility.
Pita Pal Foods LP of Houston did not report how many pounds of product are subject to the recall. The company also did not post any product photographs with the notice on the Food and Drug Administration’s website.
The recalled hummus products were made between May 30 and June 25. Pita Pal distributed the products nationwide in the United States and exported some to the United Arab Emirates.
“Consumers who have purchased products listed below with these use by dates are urged to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund,” according to the company’s recall notice. “Consumers with questions may contact the company at 832-803-9295 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.\”
The products subject to this recall are listed in the chart below
Information about Listeria infections
Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled but can still cause serious and sometimes life-threatening infections. Anyone who has eaten any of the recalled products and developed symptoms of Listeria infection should seek medical treatment and tell their doctors about the possible Listeria exposure.
Also, anyone who has eaten any of the recalled product should monitor themselves for symptoms during the coming weeks because it can take up to 70 days after exposure to Listeria for symptoms of listeriosis to develop.
Symptoms of Listeria infection can include vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headache and neck stiffness. Specific laboratory tests are required to diagnose Listeria infections, which can mimic other illnesses.
Pregnant women, the elderly, young children, and people such as cancer patients who have weakened immune systems are particularly at risk of serious illnesses, life-threatening infections and other complications. Although infected pregnant women may experience only mild, flu-like symptoms, their infections can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn or even stillbirth.