The Food Standards Agency has recently published new guidance on reducing the risk of vulnerable groups contracting listeria. It relates to chilled food supplied to hospitals, care homes and nursing homes. While very few operator members provide chilled food to these environments, the current focus on listeria, and the severe effects it can have on people with a weakened immune system, make it worthwhile to take note of the guidance.
The new guidance focusses on two main aspects: the need to source from a reliable supplier and the need to keep the product cold through its entire shelf life.
Chilled food for these high risk clients should only be bought from professional manufacturers who have been audited, preferably by an independent auditing company. It is not acceptable to buy sandwiches from a local shop and put these in a machine.
The guidance emphasises that chilled food for these high risk environments should be kept at no more than 5°C. This means it should be below 5°C when received by the operator, kept in chilled containers and loaded into the machine at less than 5. Listeria is one of the few harmful bacteria that will grow between 5°C and 8°C which is why the temperature is less than that specified in the temperature control regulations.
For further information from the Food Standards Agency on Listeria in chilled food, click here.
If you have any questions on the new guidance contact Mike Saltmarsh.