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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Refrigerated Ready-T0-Eat (Rte) Foods: Microbiological Concerns and Control Measures

Authors
item Hwang, Cheng-An
item Whiting, Richard - CFSAN, FDA
item Zink, Donald - CFSAN, FDA

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 10, 2006
Publication Date: August 13, 2006
Citation: Hwang, C., Whiting, R., Zink, D. 2006. Refrigerated ready-t0-eat (rte) foods: microbiological concerns and control measures. Abstract. p.61.

Technical Abstract: Refrigerated ready-to-eat (RTE) foods contaminated with L. monocytogenes have been linked to several severe listeriosis outbreaks. The contamination was mainly traced to post-process contamination. Due to the ability of L. monocytogenes to grow at refrigerated temperatures and the non-necessity for cooking before consumption, RTE foods contaminated with L. monocytogenes are a great health concern. Other pathogens, including Clostridium botulinum, are also a concern, particularly in vacuum packed RTE foods. To address these concerns, the manufacturers are mandated to establish control programs that include Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point system, sanitation standard operating procedures, additional heat processes, and additions of food additives or product sampling programs. These control programs have been effective, as the number of cases of listeriosis have decreased in the past years, but further reductions are desired. The objective of this roundtable discussion is for the regulatory agencies, producers of refrigerated RTE foods, consumers, and researchers to review and discuss the approaches to further improve the safety of refrigerated RTE foods. The roundtable will also discuss the possibility of other food safety issues that might be associated with RTE foods due to gross abuse conditions.

Last Modified: 4/16/2014
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