How to Protect Yourself from Deadly Listeria
Being the third leading cause of death from food poisoning and infecting nearly 1600 people every year, Listeria should be raising your eyebrow. At least 90% of people who get Listeria infections are pregnant women and their newborns, people 65 years or older, or people with weak immune systems.
Listeria is a bacteria that sometimes contaminates foods. Listeria is challenging for several reasons. People who eat contaminated food may not get sick or miscarry until several weeks later. This makes it hard to identify which food was the cause of Listeria. It can also affect foods that we do not cook such as cheeses, sprouts, and certain deli meats. It can be hard to truly identify where the bacteria came from. Sometimes, it is not even on the food we eat but can come from equipment or appliances where food is prepared.
Several measures are being taken by the CDC to prevent Listeria from infecting anyone. They are working to identify the outbreaks quickly so they can help remove the contaminated food before others can eat it. They are also working to apply new safety measures for food protection and safety.
Some of the most risky foods for Listeria are raw sprouts, deli meats and hot dogs, raw milk, soft cheeses, and smoked seafood. Celery and cantaloupes have also been known to carry Listeria. If you are pregnant, over the age of 65, or are struggling with a weak immune system, be sure to be cautious of the foods you eat and how they are prepared.
Everyone can work to make sure no one is affected by Listeria by following the Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill guidelines. For more information you can visit www.cdc.gov or www.foodsafety.gov.
Source: CDC, “Recipe For Food Safety,” June 2013.
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