Listeria monocytogenes

Image by AJC1 via Flickr

Listeria, you’ve probably heard it in the news lately. Listeria is a foodborne illness caused by bacteria.It infects about 2500 Americans each year and 500 of those infected die.  It can cause fever and diarrhea in those without compromised immune systems. Those who are at the most risk are the elderly, pregnancy women, and newborns. Symptoms include septicemia, meningitis and may result in a spontaneous abortionstill birth and fetal/newborn meningitis. Sources for Listeria are from the soil, water, plants, cold damp environments, humans, domestic and wild animals. Listeria can be found in unpasteurized milk and soft cheeses (feta, blue cheese, brie), raw vegetables, poultry/meat, seafood, deli meats, and hot dogs. Ways of prevention are use pasteurized milk and dairy products, cook food to proper internal temperature (including deli meats), avoid cross contamination, sanitize surfaces and wash raw vegetables.