USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is out with guidance for retail delicatessens on how they better control Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) in their shops.  It has come up with eight recommendations for delicatessens to consider using to protect the public health from Lm. On the list of eight are:’

  • Eliminate visibly adulterated product from retail deli areas.
  • Refrigerate Ready-to-eat meat or poultry products promptly after use.
  • deliworkers_406x250Do not prepare, hold, or store Ready-to-eat meat or poultry products near or directly adjacent to raw products in the deli case or elsewhere in the deli area.
  • Cover, wrap, or otherwise protect all opened RTE meat or poultry products when not in use to prevent cross contamination.
  • Make sure unsanitary conditions, including flies, rodent droppings, mold, or dirty surfaces, are not near where any RTE meat and poultry products are prepared, packed or held.
  • Clean and sanitize equipment used to process RTE products at least every 4 hours.
  • Eliminate facility conditions in deli or storage areas the could cause a product to be adulterated, such as condensation dripping or exposed product, construction dust, or broken equipment.
  • Require all deli employees handling RTE products to wear disposable gloves.

The eight suggestions are found in an FSIS Directive issued on Feb. 16, 2017. It was released to FSIS Investigators who conduct in-commerce surveillance at retail outlets that slice or prepare deli products.

FSIS said its recommendations are based on an evaluation of retail conditions and practices in an interagency risk assessment for Lm. The FSIS guidance was based at least in part on information from he U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Based on a pilot project, FSIS expects 64 percent of retailers will follow all eight recommendations. FSIS has a “RTE Deli Tool to help Investigators in their outreach work.

Deli owners who do not want to embrace the change are also reminded that FSIS has another directive calling from detention and seizure of RTE products that are found to be adulterated.

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