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Challenge testing

WFC is one of the main laboratories in Europe where Listeria challenge testing can be carried out. Tests can be performed according to the regulations of the Dutch Food Authorities, but also according to the regulations of other regulatory bodies. As a principle, we follow the guidelines as set forth by the European Listeria reference laboratory: ANSES. These are based on European Legislation.


European Regulation (EC) No. 2073/2005 lays down the microbiological criteria for certain microorganisms in foods and the implementing rules to be complied with by food business operators (FBOs) in Europe when implementing general and specific hygiene measures.

In relation to Listeria monocytogenes, this regulation covers primarily ready-to-eat (RTE) food products, and requires different microbiological criteria depending on the ability of the food product to support growth of L. monocytogenes. In addition, this regulation establishes that food safety is the responsibility of the FBO. The FBO can conduct studies to evaluate the growth of L. monocytogenes that may be present in the product during the shelf-life under reasonably foreseeable storage conditions of distribution, storage and use in order to investigate compliance with the criteria throughout the shelf-life of the product. The European Union Community Reference Laboratory for L. monocytogenes published a revised technical guidance document in June 2014 for conducting shelf-life studies on L. monocytogenes in RTE foods.

The factors to be considered and the laboratory methodology to be applied when performing a challenge test to determine the growth potential of L. monocytogenes in a defined food matrix are of utmost importance and need to be laid down in a Listeria Risk Assessment. WFC has extensive experience in setting up these risk assessments.

WFC performs challenge tests for a large variety of foods as well as microorganisms including Listeria monocytogenes, but also Salmonella, E.coli, lactic acid bacteria, fermentation bacteria etc. If more information is needed, please contact us.
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