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Review of microbiological limits

(October 2015)

FSANZ is reviewing the microbiological limits in the Food Standards Code taking into account changes that have occurred since they were established more than 10 years ago.

The review is considering recent scientific evidence and the development of preventative measures throughout the food chain, including food safety standards and primary production and processing standards.

The first stage, which is now complete, looked at limits for Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat (RTE) foods.

FSANZ assessed whether existing criteria were consistent with associated guidance material and whether the criteria aligned with international standards. References to prescribed methods of analysis in the standard were also updated.

The changes were gazetted on 31 July 2014. Read Standard 1.6.1

Criteria for raw milk products were developed through Proposal P1022.

Next stage of the review

The next stage of the review will look at what microbiological criteria are required in food safety management and for what purpose. For example, microbiological criteria may be established to:

  • determine the safety of a lot of food (food safety criteria)
  • verify if a food safety system or a processing step is working (process hygiene criteria).

This approach will support the through-chain requirements in Chapters 3 and 4 of the Code and take into account existing guideline criteria e.g. criteria in the Guide to Standard 1.6.1 and Guidelines for the microbiological examination of ready-to-eat foods.

In January 2015 FSANZ released a consultation paper outlining the approach and guiding principles for this work. Read the consultation paper.

Microbiological criteria for powdered infant formula products are currently being considered through Proposal P1039, which is currently out for comment.

Would you like to stay informed of progress?

Transparency and public consultation are an important part of the standards development process. If you wish to be placed on a mailing list for future advice on changes to Standard 1.6.1, please complete the details on this form (word 101 kb) and send to the Standards Management Officer at, or phone +61 2 6271 2280.

More information

Guidelines for the microbiological examination of ready-to-eat foods” from the micro limits page (pdf 66 kb) 

















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