Hi guys thank you so much for all your help with this issue.
I have read and re-read all the above posts and documents and its very useful and has helped me a lot...
From my understanding or interpretation some countries have a zero tolerance in 25g sample of listeria in RTE products and some countries are using a zero tolerance in some RTE products i.e those intended for vulnerable groups or at high risk groups and an acceptable detection of listeria <100cfu/g in RTE products not intended for vulnerable groups.
Also i have seen many documents on listeria, most of which talk about PH, Aw levels and WPS levels INHIBITING the growth of Listeria... In this context im coming to the conclusion that providing that the levels stay below 100 cfu/g during shelf life the product would be passable.
However the one document i feel really helps is the :Shelf life of RTE foods in relation to L.monocytogenes ABOVE . a joint document by members such as Bakafrost Tesco BRC, CFA, and most importantly to me the FSA states in a paragraph the following:
Foods are not considered to support the growth of L. monocytogenes if:
• pH is less than or equal to 4.4, or • aw is less than or equal to 0.92, or • pH is less than or equal to 5.0 with the aw being less than or equal to 0.94
If these parameters are used to demonstrate that the food will not support the growth of L. monocytogenes then
• these are critical control points
and must be monitored as part of HACCP
, and • further shelf life studies are not required in relation to L. monocytogenes
so by my understanding using this document as a reference provided my aw and PH meets the above requirement then the product would be fit for the consumer with a presence of listeria < 100 cfu/g provided it does not exceed this by end of shelf life.
The process for PH and aw control would be CCP's during my process provided that listeria is within tolerance at the end (validation required obviously) and i definitely can see positive release being the way forward for this product range.