Providing guidance on microbial issues for efficient food safety systems

Background

The presence of microbes in food is very much determined by our current way of life. Factors such as climate change, global trade, the usage of new ingredients and consumer behaviours might increasingly have an effect in the microbial populations in food. In this context, a framework that details how to incorporate risk analysis in food safety management systems is increasingly needed.

Objectives

The Task Force aims at facilitating the development of harmonised, science-based approaches to predict and prevent risks. Those approaches may serve as decision-making support for regulators and food industry.
Reviewing the existing knowledge on current and (re-)emerging pathogen behaviour and ecology is also key.
The Task Force will also try to answer the reason why the pathogens persist by detecting and typing methods, as well as reviewing potential control options available.

Impact

This Task Force has published 9 peer reviewed publications and 4 Back & White reports in less than 9 years. It’s significant contribution to the state-of-the-art and it’s research findings are widely spread. The Task Force frequently collaborates with the International Association for Food Protection International (IAFP). Since 2016 they have organised 10 dissemination activities such as
the round tables and follow-up webinar, webinars and sessions at the IAFP Annual Meeting and IAFP European symposium.

Upcoming

The Task Force will potentially introduce its work during the IAFP European symposium in April 2021. The activities of the Expert Groups will be presented during 2 roundtables sessions. The participation of the Expert Groups in this event will depend on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Expected results

The Task Force expects to release a publication which will increase the overall understanding of how to validate the critical control points (CCP) in practice. This output will especially support small and medium size businesses with limited resources.
Another publication and/or Black & White report may address some open questions on how to set-up a meaningful Environmental monitoring (EM) program, aiming to support industry and regulators to develop and implement targeted EM programs.

For more detailed information, please contact Angeliki Stavropoulou at astavropoulou@ilsieurope.be or Toula Aslanidis at taslanidis@ilsieurope.be

Task Force Members

*Scientific Advisor

Expert Groups

Environmental Monitoring in Dry production environments – Are we looking for the right thing(s) / microorganism?

Background & Objectives
Environmental monitoring (EM) program are gaining increasing importance in the context of food safety plans / HACCP programs.
Recent outbreaks have shown the relevance of the environment to ensure the safety of products. However, there are still many uncertainties on how to set up a meaningful program, which would provide early warnings of potential product contamination.

Output
The current activity aims to evaluate existing scientific information on microorganisms of importance and/or concern in dry production environments.
The resulting evaluation would help industry and regulators to focus and set up targeted EM programs depending on their purpose.

Process Validation Study Protocols for Control Measures of Foodborne Pathogens in Foods

Background & Objectives
There are no generic protocols available to guide manufacturers and ensure that all relevant aspects are considered when undertaking a validation. The expert group aims to develop a recommended protocol to control foodborne pathogens in various food matrices.

Output
This publication will help to establish an industry wide standard protocol to validate the critical control points (CCP) in the Hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) plan. It will also eliminate or reduce the variation issues among food safety professionals, consultants and third party laboratories to conduct a validation study.
The output would especially support small and medium size businesses that have fewer resources to those tasks available. It would also improve the overall understanding of validation processes in practice.

Expert Group Members

Environmental Monitoring in Dry production environments – Are we looking for the right thing(s) / microorganism?

Process Validation Study Protocols for Control Measures of Foodborne Pathogens in Foods

Publications

The task force organised a webinar designed for industry experts and regulatory agencies on the relevance of end-product testing in food safety management, on November 2015, with the support of IAFP.’

All Publications

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