What is Listeria? With all the foodborne illness outbreaks in the news, it’s best to know your food safety. Listeriosis is a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. The bacteria may be found in soil, water and some animals like cattle and poultry. The CDC estimates that approximately 1600 illnesses and 260 deaths due to listeriosis occur annually in the United States.
Watch our video to learn more about Listeria!
Did you know that when the Listeria bacteria gets into a food manufacturing facility, they can live there for years and contaminating the food products? According to foodsafety.gov here are a few sources of Listeria in food:
- Ready-to-eat deli meats and hot dogs
- Refrigerated pâtés or meat spreads
- Unpasteurized (raw) milk and dairy products
- Soft cheese made with unpasteurized milk, such as queso fresco, Feta, Brie, Camembert
- Refrigerated smoked seafood
- Raw sprouts
Older adults, pregnant women and people with certain diseases are more susceptible and at risk. If you have a weakened immune system, it is best to avoid the foods mentioned above.
Foodsafety.gov also lists the following tips for prevention:
- Refrain from drinking and eating foods with raw, unpasteurized milk.
- Wash hands, countertops, and kitchen utensils and cutting boards after handling and preparing uncooked foods.
- Thoroughly rinse raw produce under running tap water before consumption.
- Keep uncooked meats, poultry, and seafood separate from vegetables, fruits, cooked foods, and ready-to-eat foods.
- Thoroughly cook raw food from animal sources, such as meat, poultry, or seafood to a safe internal temperature.
- Eat perishable and ready-to-eat foods as soon as possible.
- Take food handler training for an overview of food safety issues, regulations, and techniques to maintain a food-safe environment.
Don’t let your food establishment be the cause of a food illness outbreak. Take precautions and food safety training seriously.