At least three outbreaks of listeriosis associated with seafood have been reported. Listeria monocytogenes is widely distributed in the general environment including fresh water, coastal water and live fish from these areas. Contamination or recontamination of seafood may also take place during processing and low levels (
In 2008, Canada enacted its biggest-ever food recall in response to a Listeria crisis, stemming from a Maple Leaf Foods plant, that killed 22 Canadians. Afterwards, Maple Leaf's market share quickly returned to pre-crisis levels, but the long-term repercussions of the scare still reverberate in Maple Leaf's brand. In this case study, which offers an organizational perspective on the food recall, data was collected, through in-depth interviews of persons involved in the crisis response, and analyzed. The aim of this paper is to make transparent the ways in which Maple Leaf Foods organized their resources to manage the 2008 food recall. Results reveal that institutional and relational determinants are the most important factors in high- and medium-extent food product crises, whereas external and internal effects primarily influence an organization's capacity to cope with severe crises. Based on these findings, a conceptual framework is presented and managerial implications are discussed.
As a leading cause of death from a foodborne pathogen, Listeria monocytogenes continues to cause sporadic cases and outbreaks of illness. The most recent of these outbreaks in the United States involved consumption of hot dogs, with 101 cases of illness and 21 deaths reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the years 1998-1999. Epidemiologic analysis determined that contamination levels in hot dogs were remarkably low (0.3 CFU [colony-forming units] L monocytogenes serotype 4b/g). That same year, manufacturers of hot dogs and luncheon meats collectively recalled more than 500,000 pounds of product owing to possible Listeria contamination. This article, through focus on issues such as reexamination of zero-tolerance policies, improvements in detection and enumeration procedures, the impact of epidemiologic innovations, and measures needed to further reduce the incidence of listeriosis will highlight why L monocytogenes remains a continuing challenge for the food industry.
The present situation regarding Listeria monocytogenes and ready-to-eat (RTE) seafood is discussed. An updated regulatory policy on L. monocytogenes directs inspection and compliance action to those RTE foods capable of supporting growth of the organism and is based on a combination of inspection, environmental sampling and product testing. The incidence of L. monocytogenes in imported seafood products in 1996-1997 and 1997-1998 was 0.88 and 0.3%, respectively. With respect to domestic products, an analysis of 347 RTE foods in 1997-1998 and 1998-1999, at one of the large fish inspection labs in the Maritimes, revealed an absence of L. monocytogenes. The only seafood product linked to suspect cases of listeriosis in Canada was imported.