Ad Hoc Group on Foodborne Viral Infections meeting 3 September 2012

Summary of the 9th meeting of the Ad Hoc Group on Foodborne Viral infections

1. Introduction

At this meeting the Group focussed on reviewing the recommendations of the EFSA reports on the “Scientific Opinion Scientific Opinion on an update on the present knowledge on the occurrence and control of foodborne viruses” and the “Scientific Opinion on Norovirus (NoV) in oysters: methods, limits and the control options”. The Group also gave consideration to a recent paper on the thermal inactivation of Hepatitis E in pork products.

2. Discussion of the EFSA opinions on foodborne viruses and Norovirus in Oysters.

Members reviewed the recommendations of the EFSA reports, identifying recommendations that were relevant to the UK situation. The EFSA reports covered an extensive review of methodologies, developments and the current situation on foodborne viral infections. This information would be used to support the Group’s own recommendations and highlight any potential gaps. The EFSA recommendations covered areas such as the importance of preventative measures, the introduction of microbiological criteria for viruses, better training of food handlers and data gaps.

3. Thermal inactivation of Hepatitis E

The Group discussed a paper that highlighted the successful thermal inactivation of hepatitis E. The paper concluded that pork products had to be cooked at 71oC for 20 minutes to completely inactivate the virus. The Group gave consideration to the methods used and how this would impact on what would be considered normal cooking times and temperatures for pork products. The group went on to consider the wider issues of Hepatitis E such as surveillance and its prevalence in the UK population.

4. Structure of the Subgroups Report

The Group discussed the structure of the report to ensure the style remained consistent with other subgroup reports the ACMSF had produced. Members also gave further consideration to the recommendations already made by the group. This was to ensure that these recommendations were practical and achievable.

5. Work Programme

The Group plans to produce the first draft of their report in January 2013. It is the intention that this is presented to the main ACMSF Committee before going out to public consultation.