Client Story

Expert advice provided to major food manufacturer

19th February 2024

Off white building 50 - 60 Station Road, Cambridge

Our client is a major food manufacturer which makes ready to eat (RTE) foods. These are products which are required to comply with specified microbiological criteria (EC 2073/2005) as to the presence of food poisoning organisms at the end of production and end of shelf life.

The Food Standards Agency was undertaking a project on RTE foods which included some sampling of our client’s product at the factory and from retailers throughout the UK. This identified the presence of listeria at levels permitted under the Regulations.

Advising client on the interpretation of whole genome sequencing (WGS) for listeria; powers of inspectors; selection of laboratories to carry independent WGS; and assisting on their product and environmental sampling regime.

FSA investigation sought to trace the listeria strain to a biofilm within the product facility whereas all environmental swabs and food samples (over 500) came back clear.

Detailed advice from experts on sources of this strain, and challenge testing versus the client’s extensive historical data on samples and swabs to calculate shelf life.

Lengthy investigation by FSA and EHOs culminating with no enforcement action taken against our client.

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