The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) have announced that they are seeking comments and scientific data to update a risk assessment on the relationship between foodborne Listeria in selected ready-to-eat (RTE) foods and human health. According to the agencies, the effort is designed to evaluate reduction or prevention strategies of Listeria exposure to RTE foods, such as “the impact of changing refrigerated time and temperature storage prior to consumption.”

The agencies specifically request comments or data on areas including (i) Listeria “contamination in different RTE foods sampled at retail or in the processing plant,” (ii) Listeria “survival and growth dynamics in RTE foods,” (iii) “the relationship between the dose of Listeria monocytogenes ingested with food and the frequency of Listeria,” (iv) “current food consumption practices in the United States” relating to RTE foods, and (v) storage times and temperatures that may affect Listeria growth during food transport and storage in consumers’ homes. Comments are requested by July 6, 2011. See Federal Register, April 7, 2011.