According to Meat International online, the UK Chilled Food Association (CFA) has raised concerns about the lengthy shelf life of some listeria-prone ready-to-eat foods (RTE) in some countries as the EU said it would help fund a study on the issue. Kaarin Goodburn, of the CFA said increasing incidents of listeria monocytogenes could be linked to longer shelf lives allowed for foods such as RTE smoked salmon, meats and specialist cheeses in many continental European countries compared to the UK. In some cases, she said these can be up to twice as long.

The Commission said, “The growth of listeria monocytogenes in a ready-to-eat product is influenced significantly by the pH, water activity and storage temperature of the product. A modelling can be used for the estimation of the growth of listeria monocytogenes in a ready-to-eat product under various temperature conditions.” According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the highest frequency of listeria-tainted products are found in RTE fish, cheese and meat products because they no longer “undergo any treatment” before consumption – such as reduction before cooking.”