Spain officials have provided an update on a Listeria control strategy, following a sizable outbreak in 2019.

The goal of the strategy, to take place over three years, is to prevent another outbreak.

The Ministry of Health and Families developed Phase 1 and 2 of the strategy for Listeria monocytogenes in Andalusia.

In 2019, the outbreak caused by La Mecha brand chilled roasted pork made more than 200 people ill. Three people died, and there were five abortions. 

The first phase of the control strategy covered the last quarter of 2019. Almost 1,500 official controls were carried out, and the number of food samples that tested positive for Listeria doubled to more than 700; in addition, surface samples almost tripled, to nearly 400.

The goal of the control strategy was to raise awareness, and improve how prepared meat companies were against Listeria. Companies now have a faster response in the event of an incident. 

The second phase of the strategy involved guidelines for the control of Listeria in meat products for Andalusian companies in the meat industry, as wella s those involved in official controls. This took place during 2020, and involved evaluating the effectiveness of controls that the companies adapted, verifying compliance with Listeria limits, and increasing overall effectiveness.

Phase 2 also involved all food sectors, including fish, dairy, and vegetable. 

Phase 3, which covers 2021 and beyond, is currently ongoing.