Saturday, August 8, 2009

Guest Blog: Listeria monocytogenes and Food Processing Equipment, 2/3

The following Guest Blog first appeared as a three-part series in French on Le Blog d'Albert Amgar, a regular feature on, and is reproduced here in English (translation by Phyllis Entis) with the kind permission and cooperation of its author, Albert Amgar.

A continuation of Listeria monocytogenes and Food Processing Equipment, 1/3

According to one of the 57 recommendations contained in the report of the Independent Investigator into Canada’s 2008 listeriosis outbreak, “Manufacturers of food processing equipment should ensure that their specifications and instructions to users specifically emphasize the necessity to control the risk of pathogens, including Listeria monocytogenes.” Implementing this recommendation will not be an easy task.

The recommendation goes even farther and, for equipment manufacturers, may be too broad. But is it not an appropriate goal to gain an understanding of sanitation needs in order to design a piece of equipment that is more easily cleaned?

“In addition, manufacturers of food processing equipment should accept responsibility for the foreseeable impact of the design and operation of their equipment on food safety. The design and operation of, and recommended sanitation methods for all food processing equipment should:
  • enable thorough cleaning and disinfection;
  • allow for efficient and complete disassembly and reassembly when required;
  • eliminate to the fullest extent possible all areas likely to harbour pathogens, including Listeria monocytogenes;
  • wherever possible, use material that is scientifically validated to limit pathogen growth or survival; and
  • be peer-reviewed (applicable only for the recommended sanitation methods).”

Keep in mind that virtually all of these elements are contained in the European Machinery Directive, which states, in part, “…all surfaces in contact with foodstuffs … other than surfaces of disposable parts, must:
  • be smooth and have neither ridges nor crevices which could harbour organic materials. The same applies to their joinings,
  • be designed and constructed in such a way as to reduce the projections, edges and recesses of assemblies to a minimum,
  • be easily cleaned and disinfected, where necessary after removing easily dismantled parts; the inside surfaces must have curves with a radius sufficient to allow thorough cleaning; and
  • machinery must be designed and constructed in such a way as to prevent any substances or living creatures, in particular insects, from entering, or any organic matter from accumulating in, areas that cannot be cleaned.”

Watch for Listeria monocytogenes and Food Processing Equipment, 3/3

About Albert Amgar: Albert Amgar lives in Changé near Laval in Mayenne, France. He worked as young scientist at the Parasitology and Tropical Medicine Service of the Pitié Salpétrière Hospital and later spent 12 years in the pharmaceutical industry. In 1989, he became director of a new association of agro-food industrialists named ASEPT in Laval (France). He was the general manager of ASEPT until his recent retirement.

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