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The amendment to the EURL Lm Technical Guidance Document on shelf-life studies has been adopted

Published on 25/02/2019

Bertrand LOMBARD, as EURL Lm representative, presented the amendment to the EURL Lm Technical Guidance Document on shelf-life studies at the meeting of the EC Standing Committee on plants, animals, food and feed (PAFF)-Section Biological Safety of the Food Chain, held in Brussels on 11 February 2019. This amendment, modifying the temperature profile to conduct challenge tests, has been unanimously adopted by the EU Member States. The amended version is available on the front page of the EURL Lm website, section Guidance documents.

Meetings of the ECDC Food and Water-borne Disease Network, Stockholm, 6-8 February 2019

Published on 25/02/2019

Bertrand LOMBARD, as EURL Lm representative, has been invited by ECDC (Johanna TAKKINEN, on the picture, at new ECDC offices) to participate to the annual meeting of the microbiologists of the Food, Water-borne Disease and Zoonosis Network (6 February afternoon) and of the whole network (microbiologists from the national public health laboratories as well as epidemiologists from the national surveillance institutes, 7-8 February), see the programmes, enclosed. This meeting, very well organised by Johanna and her team, gathered around 100 participants and took place in Stockholm. I have listened interesting presentations, fruitful exchanges took place and Lm was given a prominent place with several presentations. This is only food-borne bacterium for whom a WGS-based surveillance has been settled.

Update of the 2073/2005 on microbiological criteria for foodstuffs

Published on 19/02/2019

We are pleased to announce you that Commission Regulation (EU) 2019/229 of 7 February 2019, amending EC Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005 on microbiological criteria for foodstuffs, has been published on 8 February 2019. It modifies in particular: The Lm criteria for sprouted seeds: in the second indent of footnote 4 to criteria 1.1 and 1.3, the terms ‘excluding sprouted seeds,’ are deleted. The justification is given in recital (5): “Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005 sets a food safety criterion for ‘Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat foods unable to support the growth of Listeria monocytogenes, other than those intended for infants and for special medical purposes’. In accordance with an opinion of the European Food Safety Authority of 15 November 2011, sprouted seeds support the growth of Listeria monocytogenes and should therefore be covered by the criterion for ready-to-eat foods able to support the growth of Listeria monocytogenes, other than those intended for infants and for special medical  purposes.” Article 5 on the conditions of validation/certification of alternative methods; Annex I: in the qualitative criteria on Lm (1.1, 1.2), the expression of the limit “absence in 25  g” is replaced by “not detected in 25g”, in accordance with the revised Standard method EN ISO 11290-1. As specified in Article 3 of this amendment, this Regulation shall enter into force on 28 February 2019. (the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union on 8 February 2019).

Visit for WGS skills sharing with NVWA (1-3 October 2018)

Published on 11/02/2019

October 2018, EURL Lm visited NWVA (associated NL-NRL for Lm, Wageningen, Netherlands) to disscuss and share skills in WGS analysis. We have performed the cluster analysis on a selection of a panel of 10 genomes with the in-house pipeline of the NVWA (Variant Discovery) and the Anses in-house pipeline (iVARCall2). A perfect correlation between the two in-house pipelines was observed.

Joint scientific conference on Food borne pathogens & WGS by Anses/BfR/DTUFood/NIFDS (26-28 March 2019)

Published on 05/02/2019

This Joint scientific Conference on Foodborne pathogens and whole Genome Sequencing is organised in Paris from Tuesday 26 to Thursday 28 March by Anses (France) / BfR (Germany) / DTU Food (Denmark) / NIFDS (South Korea).   Fuelled by the reduction in the cost of sequencing and the exceptionally rapid development of algorithmic and calculation resources, the medical, agronomic and food sectors have been shaken by the genomic revolution. At the initiative of four national institutions for food safety and risk assessment in France, Denmark, Germany, and South Korea, this conference will bring together researchers, risk assessors and risk managers for an update on the impact on food safety that whole genome sequencing (WGS) approaches already have, and will continue to have in the near future. The scientific presentations will cover recent developments in the data-based WGS methods used in outbreak detection, investigation and epidemiological surveillance. The bioinformatics methods and platforms used to characterise foodborne pathogens and interpret phenotypic variations (e.g. virulence, antimicrobial resistance and persistence) will be presented, while refinement of quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA) models with the implementation of new comprehensive genomic data will be discussed. In addition, the potential of metagenomics in the food safety field, with a special focus on virology, will also be addressed. A round table will close the meeting with representatives of major international public health institutions to discuss initiatives for the promotion of genomic approaches. Participation in the meeting is free of charge but requires prior registration. Link provided hereafter: website, programme and registration.

Meeting of EURLs Drafting Group for a guidance document on PTs organised by NRLs

Published on 30/01/2019

Bertrand LOMBARD organised on 13 December the 2nd web-meeting of a working group preparing a guidance document on the organisation of proficiency tests (PTs) by NRLs for the national networks of official laboratories they coordinate. This EURLs working group is composed of representatives from EURLs Salmonella, Campylobacter, VTEC, Listeria monocytogenes and Coagulase Positive Staphylococci, The draft is based on a EURL Listeria monocytogenes document dealing with partial outsourcing of PTs organised by NRLs. The scope of the document being drafted is now wider. This document should be finalised in 2019 and will be circulated to the respective NRL networks for consultation.

22nd meeting of WG 3 on Method validation

Published on 23/01/2019

Bertrand LOMBARD participated virtually (teleconference) to a part of the last meeting of the Working Group 3 on method validation of the subcommitte ISO/TC 34/SC 9 “Food products-Microbiology”. It took place on 4-6 December 2018 at Sciensano (BE-NRL for Listeria monocytogenes & coagulase positive staphylococci, Brussels). WG 3 is in charge of developing the series EN ISO 16140 on method validation/verification in food chain microbiology. This meeting was mainly dedicated to the preparation of the final vote, further to the ISO/DIS vote and CEN Enquiry, on the 4 following parts: Part 3: method verification; Part 4: method validation in a single laboratory; Part 5: factorial interlaboratory validation for non-proprietary methods; Part 6: validation of alternative (proprietary) methods for microbiological confirmation and typing procedures. The final votes are expected to be launched by mid-2019. B. Lombard ensured a liaison with WG 2 which provides a statistical expertise to prepare these standards.

Publication of EN ISO 18593 on Horizontal methods for surface sampling

Published on 17/01/2019

The working group 17 of  ISO/TC 34/SC 9 has conducted the revision of ISO 18593:2018 on Horizontal methods for surface sampling in the frame of microbiology of the food chain. This working group chaired by Léna Barre (EURL for Listeria monocytogenes) was composed by 24 members and 5 observers coming from all around the world. This CEN ISO standard published in June 2018 specifies horizontal methods for sampling techniques using contact plates, stick swabs, sponges and cloths on surfaces in the food chain environment in order to detect and enumerate culturable microorganisms such as pathogenic or non-pathogenic bacteria or yeasts and moulds.

EFSA-ECDC 2017 Annual Report

Published on 20/12/2018

EFSA and ECDC have just published the European Union summary report on trends and sources of zoonoses, zoonotic agents and food-borne outbreaks in 2017: It includes a chapter on Listeria (Chapter 3, p. 67-85) for whose drafting we have collaborated with EFSA. Cases of listeriosis decreased slightly in 2017: 2,480 infections were reported, against 2,509 in 2016. However, the trend has been upward over the past five years. The group most affected by the disease in 2017 were the elderly, particularly those over 84. In this age group, listeriosis fatality rate was 24%. The highest levels of L. monocytogenes were detected in fish and fishery products (6%), followed by ready-to-eat salads (4.2%).

Meeting of the ISO WG 19 (13-15 Nov)

Published on 19/12/2018

Hélène BERGIS participated to the meeting of the WG 19 of ISO /TC 34/SC 9 in charge of writting the second part of ISO 20976-2 "Microbiology of the food chain - Guidelines for conducting challenge tests - Part 2: Inactivation". This meeting was held in Avignon (France) on 13-15 November. This working group is also in charge of drafting a standard on "Determination and use of cardinal values".