Listeriosis is an illness caused by a food borne bacteria called listeria. This bacteria is common in improperly processed raw salads, deli meats and unpasteurized milk. Listeria infection can cause serious illness in people with impaired immune systems such as young children and old people as well as pregnant women. Healthy people with a strong immunity will rarely become ill from listeria infection. However, people with weakened immune system also develop life-threatening complications from listeria infection.
Listeria bacteria is dangerous because it can survive refrigeration and freezing and this is why you should avoid eating foods that are likely to contain listeria bacteria if you are a risk of serious infection.
Proper handling of raw food can help reduce the risk of listeria infection. You should rinse raw fruits and vegetables under running tap water before eating or cooking. There are specially designed washing liquids for fruits and vegetables that can kill germs and bacteria. You can also use a produce brush to scrub farm produce such as cucumbers and melons. Make sure to dry the produce with a paper towel after washing before peeling for eating or cooking.
Always keep uncooked meats and poultry separate from cooked foods and ready to eat foods to avoid cross contamination.
Keep the food preparation environment clean
Bacterial infection can also come from contaminated surfaces such as dirty floors and cutting boards and countertops. You should ensure that all your utensils are thoroughly washed; chopping boards and countertops are disinfected. Listeria bacteria can also grow in foods that are refrigerated. These foods should also be stored under temperatures of zero degrees Fahrenheit or lower in the freezer and below forty degrees Fahrenheit in the fridge. Spills in the refrigerator should cleaned right away and you should wash the inside walls and shelves of refrigerator regularly.
Cook meat and poultry properly
Raw meats and improperly cooked animal sources of food can harbor listeria bacteria. These meats should be thoroughly cooked to a safe internal temperature to prevent listeria infection. Pre cooked or ready to eat foods should be consumed as soon as possible. Storing foods beyond the use by date also increase the risk of infection. High risk individuals should avoid hot dogs that are stored in opened packages for more than week, left over’s should be divided in shallow containers to promote rapid cooling when refrigerated.