DOI: 10.3390/foods13030359 ISSN: 2304-8158

A Critical Review of Risk Assessment Models for Listeria monocytogenes in Meat and Meat Products

Ursula Gonzales-Barron, Vasco Cadavez, Juliana De Oliveira Mota, Laurent Guillier, Moez Sanaa
  • Plant Science
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Health (social science)
  • Microbiology
  • Food Science

A review of the published quantitative risk assessment (QRA) models of L. monocytogenes in meat and meat products was performed, with the objective of appraising the intervention strategies deemed suitable for implementation along the food chain as well as their relative effectiveness. A systematic review retrieved 23 QRA models; most of them (87%) focused on ready-to-eat meat products and the majority (78%) also covered short supply chains (end processing/retail to consumption, or consumption only). The processing-to-table scope was the choice of models for processed meats such as chorizo, bulk-cooked meat, fermented sausage and dry-cured pork, in which the effects of processing were simulated. Sensitivity analysis demonstrated the importance of obtaining accurate estimates for lag time, growth rate and maximum microbial density, in particular when affected by growth inhibitors and lactic acid bacteria. In the case of deli meats, QRA models showed that delicatessen meats sliced at retail were associated with a higher risk of listeriosis than manufacture pre-packed deli meats. Many models converged on the fact that (1) controlling cold storage temperature led to greater reductions in the final risk than decreasing the time to consumption and, furthermore, that (2) lower numbers and less prevalence of L. monocytogenes at the end of processing were far more effective than keeping low temperatures and/or short times during retail and/or home storage. Therefore, future listeriosis QRA models for meat products should encompass a processing module in order to assess the intervention strategies that lead to lower numbers and prevalence, such as the use of bio-preservation and novel technologies. Future models should be built upon accurate microbial kinetic parameters, and should realistically represent cross-contamination events along the food chain.

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