The Interagency Risk Assessment—Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) in Retail Delicatessens provides a scientific assessment of the risk of listeriosis associated with the consumption of ready-to-eat (RTE) foods commonly prepared and sold in the delicatessen (deli) of a retail food store.
The quantitative risk assessment (QRA) model simulates the behavior of retail employees in a deli department and tracks the Lm potentially present in this environment and in the food. Bacterial growth, bacterial inactivation (following washing and sanitizing actions), and cross-contamination (from object to object, from food to object, or from object to food) are evaluated through a discrete event modeling approach. The QRA evaluates the risk per serving of deli-prepared RTE food for the susceptible and general population, using a dose-response model from the literature.
This QRA considers six separate retail baseline conditions and provides information on the predicted risk of listeriosis for each. Among the baseline conditions considered, the model predicts that (i) retail delis without an environmental source of Lm (such as niches), retail delis without niches that do apply temperature control, and retail delis with niches that do apply temperature control lead to lower predicted risk of listeriosis relative to retail delis with niches and (ii) retail delis with incoming RTE foods that are contaminated with Lm lead to higher predicted risk of listeriosis, directly or through cross-contamination, whether the contaminated incoming product supports growth or not.
The risk assessment predicts that listeriosis cases associated with retail delicatessens result from a sequence of key events: (i) the contaminated RTE food supports Lm growth; (ii) improper retail and/or consumer storage temperature or handling results in the growth of Lm on the RTE food; and (iii) the consumer of this RTE food is susceptible to listeriosis. The risk assessment model, therefore, predicts that cross-contamination with Lm at retail predominantly results in sporadic cases.
Journal of Food Protection®, Number 1, January 2015, pp. 4-234, pp. 134-145(12)
Pouillot, Régis; Gallagher, Daniel; Tang, Jia; Hoelzer, Karin; Kause, Janell; Dennis, Sherri B.