The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has called for research tenders to help identify how vacuum and modified air packaging (MAP) will affect the growth and survival of Listeria monocytogenes.
It will also look at how measures to reduce the pathogen may conflict with advice regarding Clostridium botulinum and will form part of the Listeria Risk Reduction Management Programme.
L. monocytogenes is responsible for the largest number of deaths from foodborne disease in the UK.
The foods focused on will most likely be ready-to-eat smoked fish and seafood and cold sliced meats.
Current guidance on shelf-life of chilled vacuum or MAP products focuses on C. botulinum as being the main microbiological risk to the consumer but L. monocytogenes may also be capable of surviving the packaging processes, said the agency.
Applications need to be submitted online by 13 November 2013 .