Listeria guidance for healthcare and social care organisations

Last updated:
28 June 2016
This guidance is aimed at healthcare and social care organisations, to help reduce the risk of vulnerable groups in their care contracting listeriosis.

About this guidance

Applies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

This information is for:

  • healthcare and social care organisations that provide food for patients/residents vulnerable to listeriosis.


This guidance is intended to help these organisations determine what steps can be put in place to reduce the risk of Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat foods and to complement good practice in the food industry.

Legal status

Provides advice on the legal requirements of food safety and hygiene legislation (relevant legislation is detailed in section 5) and includes examples of good practice which are clearly identified throughout the document by good practice boxes)

You are not required by law to follow good practice. The guidance notes on legal requirements cannot cover every situation and you may need to consider the relevant legislation itself to see how it applies in your circumstances. If you do follow the guidance notes they will help you to comply with the law. 

About Listeriosis

Listeriosis is a foodborne illness caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. It is rare but can cause serious illness and death in vulnerable groups of the population.

Collaborative working

The guidance was the result of collaborative working between stakeholders who contributed to its development, including the Hospital Caterers Association (HCA) and the National Association of Care Caterers (NACC), which will help to promote uptake in these sectors.

The main audiences for this guidance are all types of healthcare and social care organisations that provide food for vulnerable groups. The guidance is also intended for Environmental Health Practitioners and procurement partners.

The project to deliver this guidance formed part of the FSA Listeria Risk Management Programme for 2010 – 2015.

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