10 Things You Should Know About Listeria
by Joe Miller
Be it people living in third world countries or those living in a first rate, the possibility of food-borne contamination is ever present. There are many organisms that can cause food poisoning. One of the more prevalent being Listeria. Here are ten things that you should know about this bacteria to keep yourself safe.
1. Listeria monocytogenes is a food-borne pathogen that is commonly found in soil and water, and some plants but even more commonly found in raw foods and processed foods made from pasteurized milk.
2. Unlike many of other germs, this gram positive bacteria’s growth is not inhibited by placing it in a refrigerator. Check your refrigerator regularly to insure proper temperatures are maintained. Proper temperature in a refrigerator should be at 40 °F or lower and the temperature in a freezer should be at 0 °F or lower.
3. Signs and symptoms caused by Listeria are fever, muscle aches and pains, and diarrhea.
4. The most important step you could take to prevent the bacteria from spreading and multiplying on your foods is to completely cook the raw foods to a safe internal temperature (beef – 145°F, pork – 160°F, poultry – 165 °F).
5. Always wash hands with soap and hot water after using the bathroom because the Listeria is spread though fecal matter. Go here for proper hand washing instructions.
6. Immunocompromised people such as AIDS patients are about 300 times more likely to develop Listeriosis than those with a healthy immune system. Death is usually the result of them contracting the illness.
7. Pregnant women are at an increased risk of developing Listeriosis and should be tested regularly as a preventive measure, so they can catch it early enough to treat it before it does damage to the fetus.
8. The treatment for someone with Listeriosis is usually to let it run its course (takes about a week) or to take antibiotics to speed up the process.
9. As with all cases of food poisoning, it is very important to keep yourself hydrated.
10. Rodents tend to carry Listeria, so if you ever come in contact with rodent droppings you should wash your hands.