November 9, 2011

Listeria Bacteria

Listeria Bacteria
This may not be known as Salmonella or E. coli, but can still cause listeria bacteria a very dangerous form of food-borne diseases, says Carla Haley, County Extension Agent Miller of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.

A bacterial strain of Listeria monocytogenes is responsible for large-scale outbreak affecting at least 20 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On 3 October, the CDC has confirmed 100 dead and 18 sick from eating contaminated melons together.

Listeria was associated first with foodborne illnesses in 1981, when the buds are at the origin of contaminated cabbage. Since then, listeria bacteria associated with a variety of ready to eat, including unpasteurized milk and dairy products, processed meats, hot dogs, smoked seafood and prepared deli, salads.

"Use cooked and ready to eat as quickly as possible," said Haley.

Unlike most bacteria, Listeria can grow and spread in the refrigerator. This may be due to spills or contact with contaminated surfaces. If you are infected with listeria food coolers do not realize, it can spread to other foods and increase the risk of infection.

Bacteria grow slowly at temperatures below 40 degrees F, so be sure to keep the cold at 40 degrees or lower and the freezer is zero or below. Foods that can be further protected by a plastic or paper envelope, or put in a sealed container.

Another tip to prevent contamination include:
  • Clean up spills immediately, especially liquid processed meats, raw meats and poultry.
  • Wash all food preparation surfaces, including cutting boards with hot water and soap. Do the same with the inside walls and shelves in the refrigerator. Let stand a few minutes and then rinse. Cleaning the surface is the monthly consumption of goods purchased in the store, or a solution made of one teaspoon of bleach to a quart of water.
  • Clean the plate non-porous acrylic, plastic or glass cutting board in the dishwasher.
  • Wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before handling food.
Related article: What is Listeria


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