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Listeria and its triggers:



When Listeria bacteria spread beyond the intestines, it is called infection invasive. The CDC only tracks Listeria illnesses that are invasive.

Treatment depends on the kind and severity of a person’s illness. Most Listeria infections are treated with antibiotics. People with diarrhea should drink plenty of fluids.


A few outbreaks of Listeria infections are identified most years. Even though most cases of listeriosis are not part of recognized outbreaks, outbreak investigations help show which foods are sources of listeriosis.


Choose safer foods


Listeria is especially harmful for some people:

· People who have weakened immune systems (have health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness)


If you are in any of these groups, choose safer foods to protect your health or your pregnancy:



Choose these instead


  • Pasteurized soft cheeses heated to an internal temperature of 165°F or until steaming hot.

  • Deli-sliced cheeses heated to 165°F or until steaming hot

  • Hard cheeses, such as cheddar and parmesan

  • Cottage cheese, cream cheese, string cheese, and feta

  • Unheated deli meat, cold cuts, hot dogs, and fermented or dry sausages

  • Deli meat, cold cuts, hot dogs, and fermented or dry sausages reheated to 165°F or until steaming hot

  • Premade deli salads, such as coleslaw and potato, tuna, or chicken salad

  • Homemade deli salads

  • Refrigerated pâté or meat spreads

  • Pâté or meat spreads in sealed, airtight containers that don’t need to be kept refrigerated before opening

  • Refrigerated smoked fish

  • Smoked fish in sealed, airtight packages or containers that don’t need to be kept refrigerated before opening

  • Smoked fish

  • cooked in a casserole or other cooked dishes

  • Raw or lightly cooked sprouts

  • Sprouts cooked until steaming hot

  • Cut melon left out for more than 2 hours (1 hour if it’s exposed to temperatures hotter than 90°F, such as a picnic or hot car)

  • Cut melon in refrigerator for more than a week

  • Melon that has just been cut

  • Raw (unpasteurized) milk, yogurt, and ice cream

  • Pasteurized milk, yogurt, and ice cream


Foods more likely to be contaminated with Listeria:


Listeria is a hardy germ that can be difficult to fully remove from food processing facilities. If a facility has Listeria germs, the germs can spread to food that touches contaminated equipment or surfaces. Listeria can also spread from contaminated food to surfaces. It can even grow on foods kept in the refrigerator. The good news is that Listeria is easily killed by heating food to a high enough temperature.


Find out why some foods are more likely to be contaminated with Listeria and learn about recent outbreaks linked to these foods.


Soft cheeses, such as queso fresco and brie


Soft cheeses are more likely than hard cheeses to be contaminated with Listeria because of their high moisture, low salt content, and low acidity. These conditions support the growth of Listeria. Soft cheeses made with unpasteurized milk or made in facilities with unclean conditions are even more likely to be contaminated. Although pasteurizing milk kills germs, cheese made with pasteurized milk can still get contaminated during cheese-making.

Soft cheeses include queso fresco, queso blanco, queso panela, brie, camembert, and blue-veined.


Hard cheeses include asiago, cheddar, emmental, gruyere, parmesan, and swiss cheese.


Deli meats, cold cuts, hot dogs, and fermented or dry sausages


Deli meats, cold cuts, hot dogs, and fermented or dry sausages can be contaminated with Listeria when they are made or prepared at facilities where Listeria persists. Although cooking, fermenting, or drying kills germs, these meats can get contaminated afterwards if they touch surfaces with Listeria. Refrigeration does not kill Listeria, but reheating before eating will kill any germs that may be on these meats.


Examples of fermented or dry sausages include chorizo, pepperoni, salami, and summer sausage.


Pâté or meat spreads

Refrigerated pâté or meat spreads can become contaminated with Listeria when they are made in a facility where Listeria persists. Refrigeration does not kill Listeria.


A safer choice is “shelf-stable” pâté or meat spreads. These are heat-treated to kill any germs and sealed in airtight containers (such as cans, tins, or glass jars). They do not need to be refrigerated before opening.


Cold-smoked fish

Cold-smoked fish can become contaminated with Listeria when it is made in a facility where Listeria persists. The cold-smoking process does not kill Listeria. Refrigeration also does not kill Listeria.

Safer choices are shelf-stable smoked fish or cooked smoked fish. Shelf-stable smoked fish are heat-treated to kill any germs and sealed in airtight containers or packages that do not need to be refrigerated before opening. Cooking smoked fish also kills any germs that may be in it.

Cold-smoked fish products are often labeled as “nova-style,” “lox,” “kippered,” “smoked,” or “jerky.”


Sprouts

Sprouts need warm and humid conditions to grow. These conditions are also ideal for the growth of Listeria and other harmful germs. Germs can grow on the inside and outside of sprouts, so washing them does not remove all germs. Homegrown sprouts can also have germs because they need the same conditions to grow.


Melons are more likely than many other fruits to be contaminated with Listeria. This is because they have low acidity and can be kept in the refrigerator for a long time. Both these conditions support the growth of Listeria.


Raw (unpasteurized) milk and raw milk products

Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized. Pasteurization heats milk to a high enough temperature for a long enough time to kill germs that can make you sick.

Raw milk and products made from it – including ice cream and yogurt – can contain Listeria and other harmful germs. These germs can get into raw milk in multiple ways, including unclean conditions at the dairy farm and contact with animal feces.


The CDC recommends that everyone choose pasteurized milk and dairy products.



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