WASHINGTON – Notice 79-11: Compositing of Environmental Samples Collected During Routine Listeria monocytogenes (RLm) Sampling was issued last week by the Food Safety and Inspection Service. Notice 78-11: FSIS Actions in Establishments that Temporarily Alter Routine Practices During Routine Risk-Based RLm Sampling or Intensified Verification Testing (IVT) was also issued by the agency.

The first notice reissues the content of FSIS Notice 59-10, which expired on Nov. 1, according to the American Meat Institute. Instructions to Enforcement, Investigations and Analysis Officers (EIAOs) about collecting environmental (non-food contact) samples during routine risk-based RLm sampling, and instructions on how to complete FSIS Form 10,210-3 are provided in this particular notice. This notice also informs EIAOs that FSIS has changed the project identification code for environmental samples from RLMENVR to RLMENVC to denote that the samples are composited at the laboratory.

Clarifications have also been made to the environmental site examples and the number of swabs collected at each site (Section III, Sample Collection).

Regarding the latter notice, FSIS determined that some establishments may temporarily alter their routine practices during RLm Sampling or Intensified Verification Testing (IVT).

Establishments may make changes that are not consistent with their documented food-safety system and that impede FSIS’s ability to assess the safety of the product by altering routine practices. This notice provides instructions to EIAOs in performing RLm and IVT sampling in establishments that temporarily alter their routine practices in response to notification of FSIS sampling.