LISTERIA is one of the most dangerous foodborne organisms when consumed by mouth, with up to 20% of clinical infections ending in death.
These bacteria typically infect people with immature or weakened immune systems, leading to serious illness and death.
What is listeria?
Listeria infection is a foodborne bacterial illness that can be fatal in pregnant women, individuals over the age of 65, and those with compromised immune systems.
Eating undercooked meats and unpasteurized milk products are the most common causes of the disease.
Listeria infection is rarely fatal in healthy adults, but can be fatal in unborn babies, newborns and those with weaker immune systems, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Listeria bacteria can withstand freezing and even refrigeration.
Which foods are most likely to contain listeria?
Some foods that people should be careful about while eating to avoid listeria are, according to the Mayo Clinic:
- Mexican cheeses and soft cheeses: Eat soft cheeses such as feta, brie, camembert or blue cheese, as well as Mexican-style cheeses such as queso blanco and queso fresco, only if the packaging clearly states that the product is made with pasteurized milk.
- Hot dogs and deli meats: Unless they have been reheated to boiling hot and/or cooked through, stay away from them.
- Smoked Seafood: Nova style, lox, kippered, and jerky can be used to describe these goods. They are fine to consume cooked.
- Sprouts: raw or lightly cooked. Sprouts of any kind should be well cooked.
Was there a listeria outbreak?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have begun investigating a multistate epidemic of listeria infections in conjunction with state and local partners, according to FoodSafetyNews.com.
As of December 2021, according to the website, ten people had been infected with Listeria in eight states: Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
A new outbreak in Florida was reported by the CDC on June 30, 2022, but the specific foods that cause Listeria cases are unknown.
Fresh Express has voluntarily stopped production at its Streamwood, Illinois facility and has recalled a number of select strains in response to sample results and current investigations into the outbreak.
The CDC says that as of June 30, the number of people diagnosed rose to 23, 22 people were hospitalized and one person died.
According to the CDC, the majority of people diagnosed with outbreaks in the ten states had traveled to or lived in Florida.