Listeria resources

MPI's project reports for the bacterial pathogen Listeria include attribution, baseline food and environmental surveys, growth and inactivation kinetics, and control measures. Find a list of publications, documents, guidance and associated research projects relating to Listeria.

Listeria strategy

A comprehensive programme of work under the Risk management strategy was undertaken by MPI from 2008 to 2015. The objective of the strategy was to estimate the proportion of cases of listeriosis attributable to foods, and to identify, implement and evaluate effective control measures. The output of the strategy included results from research projects and the development of resources to assist food operators, third party auditors, evaluators and food safety consultants.

Listeria fact sheets

These fact sheets provide information on Listeria and key good operating practices for the management and control of Listeria in the processing environment.

Microbiological limits for Listeria in food

The microbiological criteria for L. monocytogenes have been revised in the Food Standards Code 1.6.1 – Microbiological Limits for Food. Schedule 27 - Microbiological Limits in Food specifies end point microbiological limits (i.e. measured at the end of a product’s shelf life) for Listeria monocytogenes in all types of RTE foods based on whether growth of the microorganism can occur.

 

Food Microorganism/test n c m
Ready-to-eat food in which growth of Listeria monocytogenes will not occur Listeria monocytogenes 5 0 100 cfu/g
Ready-to-eat food in which growth of Listeria monocytogenes can occur Listeria monocytogenes 5 0 Not detected in 25g

 

It is expected that most operators will continue to apply the limit of Listeria monocytogenes not detected in 25g when testing product regardless of the changes in Standard 1.6.1. This is because it can be difficult to confirm that growth will not occur and when testing product, finding any Listeria monocytogenes may indicate that the process or product controls have not been fully effective.

Related documents

This fact sheet provides general advice to processors of ready-to-eat (RTE) food in applying the microbiological limits for  Listeria monocytogenes in RTE foods in accordance with the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code Standard 1.6.1.

This fact sheet provides general advice to processors of certain ready-to-eat (RTE) food (for example, fresh leafy salads, fresh fruit salads, sprouted seeds and smoked and gravadlax seafood) in applying the microbiological limits for Listeria monocytogenes in RTE foods in accordance with the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code Standard 1.6.1.

Training resource and video

The Listeria in ready-to-eat foods training resource has been developed to help risk management programme operators and their staff understand Listeria management. The training resource covers:

  • what Listeria is
  • why Listeria needs to be controlled and how this is achieved
  • how to prevent contamination.

2017 Listeria in ready-to-eat foods [PDF, 7.3 MB]

Video

The Swabbing for  Listeria video has been developed to help risk management programme operators create an environmental testing programme. The video provides instructions on how to collect environmental samples from the processing area for  Listeria testing.

Listeria guidance material

This material provides information on the characteristics of its sources, how it may enter the processing environment, and the consequences of food contamination. It also provides guidance material on the management and control of Listeria including specific good operating practices, microbiological testing and responses when Listeria monocytogenes is detected in the product or processing area.

Guidance for the control of Listeria monocytogenes in RTE foods

Research projects

MPI creates annual foodborne illness reports that cover and listeriosis.

Research documents

NZ food monitoring programme - Food safety and hydroponically cultivated vegetables - June 1999
Report
Microbiological survey of pre-packaged leafy salads available at retail in New Zealand
Technical paper
Risk Profile: Listeria Monocytogenes in soft cheeses
Report
Microbiological limits for L. Monocytogenes – Application of food standards code
Fact sheet
Microbiological limits for L. Monocytogenes in ready-to-eat foods
Fact sheet
Risk profile: Salmonella (non-typhoidal) in pork and pork products
Report
Review of microbial pathogen inactivation relevant to sous vide cooking at temperatures below 55°C
Technical paper
Risk ranking: Updated estimates of the burden of foodborne disease for New Zealand in 2013
Technical paper
Risk profile: Listeria monocytogenes in low-moisture cheeses
Report
Evaluation of the microbial safety of raw milk cheeses
Technical paper
A microbiological survey of seed sprouts (and shoots) available in New Zealand
Technical paper
Microbiological survey of pre-packaged leafy salads available at retail in New Zealand (June 2015)
Technical paper
Resuscitation putative viable research project final report (June 2008)
Report
Defining "Short shelf life" foods with respect to risk from Listeria monocytogenes - Final report September 2010
Report
Listeria Monocytogenes
Information paper
Microbiological survey of retail fresh produce of imported domestic conventional and domestic organic origin - Final report September 2009
Report
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