AFNOR invites comments on Listeria and toxin standards

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

Comments sought on revised and new standards
Comments sought on revised and new standards

Related tags Standardization Microbiology

AFNOR has invited laboratories and specialists in food microbiology to contribute on three reference standards to verify compliance with microbiological criteria in food.

The voluntary standards involve the detection of the toxin cereulide by LC-MS/MS and a procedure for detection and enumeration of Listeria.

Comments are open in France on the detection of cereulide until 8 January 2015 and Listeria before 6 January 2015 and at the international and EU level until March.  

Enquiries on standards EN ISO 18465 and EN ISO 11290 parts one and two are organized by the National Standardization Body, a member of the non-governmental standard organization CEN (European) and/or ISO (International) until March 2015.

AFNOR is coordinating the development in France and updating of the 15 voluntary standards providing methods for pathogens analysis.   

The group carries out standardization as a public-benefit organization and some competitive business as well as certification and training services.

Reason to comment

Gwénola Hardouin, standard project manager at AFNOR told that the standards are open to public comment so they can reach as many people as possible.

“A lab reads the procedure and can comment on the text. The methods of analysis could involve 10g of product put in water and mixed, diluted and added to the medium. A lab can say 'I don’t agree with the medium' or something else and make a proposal,"​ she said.

“For example, the temperature to make bacteria grow – they can say labs use this temperature and not this one. This is usually already decided by the working group who develop the standard but it is an example.

“It is more to get pragmatical comments, they all know the temperature Listeria grows but maybe the steps are not logical or there are too many or it will be too expensive for the labs. It is working with the document to tell what is difficult and what works well.”

Toxin and Listeria

The first standard is on cereulide, a toxin produced in food by the bacterium Bacillus cereus and especially found in vegetables.

This new draft standard (EN ISO 18465) delivers information and tools for quantitative analysis of cereulide toxin.

Data on the equipment, materials to be used, procedure (preparation of the sample for analysis) and method for adequate calculation are featured.

The NF draft standards EN ISO 11290-1 and EN ISO 11290-2 provide a procedure for detection and enumeration of Listeria bacteria (especially L. monocytogenes) and are revisions of standards published in 1997 and 1998.

Listeriosis remains a rare disease in France, with about 4-5 cases per million inhabitants per year, according to the country’s Ministry of Agriculture.

The enquiry on the revised standard EN ISO 6579-1 part one horizontal method for the detection of Salmonella species closed last month.

Horizontal methods for detection and enumeration of Enterobacteriaceae detection (EN ISO 21528-1) and colony count method (EN ISO 21528-2) both revised standards also closed last month for comments.

The analytical reference methods validated through inter-laboratory testing will be useful to verify compliance with microbiological criteria on food safety and hygiene procedures.

Once published in October 2016, the standards will serve as reference tools for the analysis to be performed.

They will come in to support EU regulation EC 2073/2005 amended by Regulation 1441/2007 EC, which aims to harmonize microbiological criteria within the EU.

Related topics Food safety & quality

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