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Policies & Issues: Food

Microbiology
CAMPYLOBACTER

'Tackling Campylobacter – A Commitment Across The Supply Chain' details how retailers, poultry producers and processors are committed to working together as the whole food chain to tackle Campylobacter.

Campylobacter is a serious human health issue. We fully endorse the Food Standard's Agency recently published strategic plan for 2010 – 2015 which gives a clear picture of the Agency's aims over the next five years. We are entirely supportive of this strategy, including the emphasis on Campylobacter.

This strategic overview outlines why Campylobacter is a world-wide problem, industry's commitment to advance a solution for the UK and how we're going about doing this. The document outlines everyone in the food chain has a role to play in preventing foodborne illness and details the collective responsibilities of all involved.

Click on the link at the bottom of this page to download Tackling Campylobacter – A Commitment Across The Supply Chain.


MICROBIOLOGY CRITERIA GUIDANCE

Commission Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005 of 15 November 2005 on microbiological criteria for foodstuffs, was published on the 22 of December 2005. This Regulation came into force in January 2006 and relates to a package of new EU hygiene regulations that are also came into effect at that time, and to the General Food Law Regulation 178/2002, which came into effect on 1 January 2005.

There is nothing fundamentally new for a company applying HAACP; the Regulation does not bring new obligations. The intention of the Regulation is not to increase product testing where GMP (good manufacturing practice) and HACCP are in place and verification is carried out as it is now. The regulation would require food business operators to assess the risks associated with their products. Based on the risks, they would have to assess whether there is a need for sampling and testing on a case-by-case basis. The only products for which a sampling frequency of one product per plant, per week, has been established are minced meat/preparations.

The BRC has liaised with the Chilled Foods Association (CFA) in developing the ‘Guidance on the Practical Implementation of the EC Regulation on Microbiological Criteria for Foodstuffs' to help industry implement the provisions of the Regulation. Members of the BRC, CFA and the FSA have been consulted during the development of the guidelines and have made significant contributions. The document is supported by a number of trade organisations and Government agencies.


DETERMINING SHELF-LIFE FOR READY-TO-EAT FOODS IN RELATION TO Lm PLUS EXAMPLES

The Shelf-life Guidance is designed to help food businesses calculate an accurate safe time period that certain foods can be kept before they are eaten. The Guidance is also designed to help firms meet European Union microbiology rules – in particular Regulation (EC) No. 2073/2005. This sets limits on micro-organisms in food, such as Listeria, which is the focus of the guidance.

Complex issues are explained in an easy to understand manner for staff at all levels of expertise. Real life worked examples are provided to show how the advice should be put into practice.

The Guidance has been developed by a coalition of organisations that include the BRC, CFA, CIEH, LACORS, Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the UK National Reference Laboratory Services for Food Microbiology (Health Protection Agency) participating as an observer.
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