ARCHIVED - Guidance on the Implementation of the Health Canada Policy on Listeria monocytogenes in Ready-to-Eat Foods

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To: All Federally Registered Fish Establishments and Importers of Fish Products

Subject: Guidance on the Implementation of the Health Canada Policy on Listeria monocytogenes in Ready-to-Eat Foods

The following provides important reminders and updates on the guidance for the implementation of the Health Canada 2011 Policy on Listeria monocytogenes in Ready-to-Eat (RTE) Foods.

Guidance documents are available to assist industry with the control and prevention of Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) and the development of an Environmental Sampling Program to monitor those controls. These documents are the Guidelines on the Control Measures for Preventing the Contamination and Growth of Listeria Monocytogenes (Appendix I of the Quality Management Program (QMP) Reference Standard) and the Guidelines for the Development of an Environmental Sampling Program (Appendix J of the QMP Reference Standard).

Health Canada has also recently developed guidance documents to assist industry wishing to proceed with the validation of a RTE food to change its classification from a Category 1 to a Category 2A or 2B RTE food. These documents are the Validation of ready-to-eat foods for changing the classification of a category 1 into a Category 2A or 2B food and Listeria moncytogenes Challenge Testing of Refrigerated Ready-to-eat Foods.

We would also like to remind you of the importance in considering the intended use and distribution of a RTE product. In accordance with section 6.1 of the 2011 Health Canada Policy on Listeria monocytogenes in Ready-to-Eat (RTE) Foods, a Category 2 RTE food in which Lm has been detected below the action level of the Canadian guidelines, could also be considered a health risk concern in certain circumstances. If this product is intended either 1) for consumption by individuals known to be in the high-risk category or 2) for use in a Category 1 RTE, a Health Risk Assessment may need to be conducted by the CFIA in collaboration with Health Canada. In this regard, the CFIA will be following up with importers and processors on the distribution and intended use of any Category 2 RTE product found to have Lm below the action level. Please note that Importers and processors are also required to inform the CFIA in the event that Lm is detected in a Category 2 RTE product that has been distributed for either of the intended uses mentioned above.

If you have any questions on this matter, please contact your local CFIA office.

Sincerely,

Terence McRae
Director
Fish, Seafood and Production Division
Agrifood, Meat and Seafood Safety Directorate
Canadian Food Inspection Agency

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