Listeriosis is developing into a problematic disease in the United States. The growth and spread of this disease is being observed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In January 2015, Bidart Bros., a food and beverage company that supplies Granny Smith and Gala apples, recalled its entire apple inventory. Testing revealed that the apples were contaminated with listeria. A total of 35 people from 12 states were infected with the bacteria. Out of the total number, 34 patients were hospitalized, and three people succumbed to the disease.
What is Listeriosis?
For the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Listeriosis is a high priority disease. Listeriosis is an infection created by the bacteria Listeria. The infection can contaminate processed as well as unprocessed food. Listeriosis affects the central nervous system, and can cause meningitis, cerebritis brain abscess, and meningoencephalitis.
USDA Recommended Procedures for Preventing Listeria
Among the many types of food products sold, dairy products like milk, cheese, and curds are particularly susceptible to listeria. As milk is a vital drink for children and adults, even a small contamination may result in an epidemic. This can lead to lost lives, massive product recall, as well as thousands of dollars wasted. For these reasons, the USDA recommends certain procedures to F&B industries, and industrial seal manufacturers to prevent this problem.
Pipelines consist of rubber gaskets. If unfit seals are used in the pipeline connection, it can result in milk leakage, which will lead to contamination. The USDA recommends replacing rubber gaskets at least once every three or four months. The Department also recommends:
Pump seals are generally used to support the function of milk pumps. If the pump seal is ineffective, milk can leak from the seal, leading to contamination of pasteurized milk. For this issue, the USDA recommends that:
Milk pump valves also comprise fillers. These fillers are verified using Cleaning in Place processes (CIP). The following steps are recommended for fillers that have not undergone the procedure:
Unless paper fillers have been verified using CIP procedures, they need to undergo the following steps:
Hygiene is an essential factor in food and dairy product processing. Improper processing of materials can result in products being affected by diseases like Listeriosis. Efficient cleaning and replacing as well as using FDA seals, gaskets, and O-rings can help avoid such problems in the future.
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