Several recent serious Listeria åmonocytogenes outbreaks in the United States in dairy foods as well as other products, have prompted calls for a heightened focus on hygiene.

Washington State Health named milkshakes served at a Frugals restaurant in Tacoma as the source of a deadly listeria outbreak between February and July this year, which caused six hospitalisations and three deaths.

According to Food Safety News, the restaurant discontinued the use of its two milkshake machines on 8 August. The milkshake machines will be kept out of service until the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department determines they are free of listeria contamination and no longer pose a danger to the public.

Meanwhile, Twin City Foods in the US recalled frozen corn and mixed vegetables in August, because of potential listeria contamination. The affected brands are Kroger, Food Lion and Signature.

Listeria monocytogenes is considered the number one food safety hazard in dairy processing. If a lab detects a notifiable contaminant in a food sample, they are obliged to report the finding to SA Health.

Dairysafe also requires immediate notification of any listeria species found in food or the environment, as well as other pathogens found in dairy products. In such cases, contact Dairysafe immediately for assistance and advice on next steps.

You can also refer to the Dairysafe pathogen management flowchart, which outlines appropriate company response arrangements.

There are many resources and reference materials available to guide you in this process. Check out the Food Safety Toolbox on the Dairysafe website.