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Review of microbiological limits

(October 2016)

FSANZ is reviewing the microbiological limits in the Food Standards Code taking into account changes that have occurred to approaches to food safety management.
 
The review is considering recent scientific evidence and the development of preventative measures throughout the food supply chain, including food safety standards and primary production and processing standards. It will look at what microbiological criteria are required in food safety management and for what purpose. For example, microbiological criteria may be established to:
  • determine the safety of a lot of food (food safety criteria)
  • verify if a food safety system or a processing step is working (process hygiene criteria).
In January 2015 FSANZ released a consultation paper outlining the approach and guiding principles for this work. Read the consultation paper.

Work completed to date

The first stage amended Standard 1.6.1 of the Food Standards Code to include limits for Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat (RTE) foods and update prescribed methods of analysis. The changes were gazetted on 31 July 2014.
 
Microbiological criteria for raw milk cheeses were developed through Proposal P1022.
 
Microbiological criteria for powdered infant formula products were finalised in May 2016 through Proposal P1039. Food safety criteria for these products are included in Schedule 27 of the Food Standards Code and process hygiene criteria are included in the Compendium of Microbiological Criteria for Food.
 
Guideline criteria for ready-to-eat foods have been revised and now included in the Compendium of Microbiological Criteria for Food.

Work ongoing

FSANZ is continuing its work with enforcement agencies and industry to look at microbiological criteria for other commodities including meat products, dairy foods, seafood and low moisture foods. The development of process hygiene criteria will help inform any changes to Standard 1.6.1 and Schedule 27 which will then be progressed through FSANZ’s standard development process.

Would you like to stay informed of progress?

Transparency and public consultation are an important part of the standards development process. If you wish to be placed on a mailing list for future advice on changes to Standard 1.6.1 or Schedule 27, please complete the details on this form (word 101kb) and send to standards.management@foodstandards.gov.au.

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