The International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association (IDDBA) has released a free new online and mobile training video that helps deli department managers and service associates identify and develop best practices to help reduce the likelihood of the growth and spread of Listeria monocytogenes within retail deli departments.
Titled “Safe Food Matters: Listeria Awareness,” the seven-minute training video addresses such topics as:
• Listeria monocytogenes characteristics;
• Why Listeria monocytogenes is so challenging to control;
• What deli department employees can do to reduce the risk of contamination; and
• The importance of deli slicer cleaning.
The video is accessible here, as well as a “Deli Slicer Cleaning IDDBA Job Guide” that complements the video.
The training video is the latest resource developed in support of IDDBA’s “Safe Food Matters!“ food safety initiative. It builds awareness about specific food safety practices that retailers can utilize in service departments—primarily delis—to encourage the sale of safe food. In 2015, the association is focusing on Listeria monocytogenes, a bacteria that causes listeriosis, a potentially life-threatening condition responsible for approximately 1,600 infections and 260 deaths annually.
Listeria monocytogenes has inundated the news of late with Blue Bell Creameries’ recall of all of its products.
On Monday, Blue Bell began a major cleanup and employee training program following that massive recall. About 750 Blue Bell plant operations employees attended a training session led by an outside expert microbiologist. He briefed employees about microbiology in general and specifically about controlling the plant environment to prevent bacteria, including listeria. It was the first step in the Texas-based company’s enhanced training program; additional training sessions for supervisors will be conducted throughout the week.
Simultaneously, the company is continuing to test individual pieces of equipment, the floor and other surfaces throughout its plants as it looks for the source or sources of the bacteria. Equipment will be disassembled and swabbed, and samples will be obtained from throughout the production facilities.
Additionally, the company anticipates conducting extensive maintenance (including major floor repairs and potential ventilation system work) in the weeks and months ahead. Depending on the findings from ongoing tests, an enhanced cleaning and sanitation program will be implemented in the weeks ahead.
“We are committed to doing whatever it takes to get this right,” said Greg Bridges, VP of operations for Blue Bell. “Our manufacturing facilities, especially the two in Brenham, are large and complex, so we anticipate this process will take some time. We appreciate the patience and understanding of our customers and retailers as we work to get this right.”