In the news


Proposed amendments would expand EU Regulations on allowable levels of Listeria in RTE foods

Food Safety Magazine reported that the EU, to align with Codex Alimentarius standards, has proposed amendments to its regulations for Listeria monocytogenes in RTE foods. If adopted, the new regulations would go into effect after January 1, 2026. The draft regulations would amend Regulation (EC) No. 2073/2005. At present, the Regulation states that, except for foods intended for infants and special medical purposes, L. monocytogenes cannot be detected in 25 g of RTE foods (that can support pathogen growth over time to exceed 100 cfu/g eventually) before such products leave the production facility. However, Regulation (EC) No. 2073/2005 does not provide that the same criterion applies to these foods once they have left the immediate control of the producing food business operator. The EC is proposing amendments to Annex I of Regulation (EC) No. 2073/2005 to guarantee the same level of public health protection from production to distribution for RTE foods (other than those intended for infants and for special medical purposes) that can support the growth of L. monocytogenes. The proposed amendments would apply the criterion “L. monocytogenes not detected in 25 g” to all situations where covered RTE foods are placed on the market during their shelf-life and for which the producing food business operator has not been able to demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the competent authority, that the level of L. monocytogenes will not exceed the limit of 100 cfu/g throughout the food’s shelf life. @



Consumer report informs the USDA that Lunchables should not be served on school menus due to lead, sodium levels

Consumer Reports (CR) reported to the USDA that Lunchables contain a troubling high level of lead and sodium. CR tested 12 store-bought Lunchables products from Kraft Heinz and compared them to similar lunch and snack kits from other manufacturers. Although none of the kits exceeded any legal or regulatory limit, the tests uncovered relatively high levels of lead, cadmium, and sodium. CR found that the sodium levels in the store-bought kits ranged from 460 to 740 milligrams per serving, close to ¼ of the daily allowance. Lunchables Extra Cheesy Pizza contains harmful phthalates prevalente in plastic that can be linked to reproductive issues, diabetes, and some cancers. CR concluded that “Lunchables are not a healthy option for kids and shouldn’t be allowed on the menu as part of the National School Lunch Program.” @



Lunchables shouldn’t be on school menus due to lead, sodium, Consumer Reports tells USDA

Lunchables contain a high level of lead and sodium, Consumer Reported warned as it petitioned the USDA to remove the products from school lunch menus.


In Canada, Mowi brand Norwegian Atlantic Salmon – Cold Smoked recalled due to potential Clostridium botulinum

According to the CFIA, Aqua Blue Seafood Ltd. reported recalled Mowi brand Norwegian Atlantic Salmon – Cold Smoked (113g package), sold from March 27, 2024, to and including April 10, 2024, because it may allow the growth of Clostridium botulinum. There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product. @



Final update of the outbreak investigation of Listeria monocytogenes in Queso Fresco and Cotija Cheese (February 2024)

The FDA reported that as of April 9, 2024, illnesses in a multi-year, multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections linked to queso fresco and cotija cheeses manufactured by Rizo Lopez Foods, Inc., of Modesto, California is over. The CDC reports 26 cases in 11 states (AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, NV, NC, OR, TN, TX, and WA). There have been a total of 23 hospitalizations, and two deaths were reported. The last illness onset date was December 10, 2023. The product was distributed Nationwide and in Canada. The FDA’s outbreak investigation is closed. The FDA has developed a prevention strategy to reduce outbreaks and illnesses of listeriosis associated with soft, fresh queso fresco cheeses. @



Outbreak Investigation of Listeria monocytogenes: Queso Fresco Cotija

Do not eat, sell, or serve any recalled products. Additional recalls have been added. FDA’s investigation is ongoing.