Ordinarily we discuss contaminants that affect water supplies but today, in light of the recent recall of around 22,000 pounds of meat as a result of possible Listeria contamination, we decided to digress a talk a bit about Listeria.
Hey, if the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) says millions of people each year in the United states alone get sick because of bacteria and other nasty contaminants on food, then we figure we ought to pay attention to the problem every once in a while.
How does one contract Listerosis?
The condition Listerosis (a serious infection) occurs when a person consumes food products contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes.
Facts about Listerosis?
- An estimated 1,600 cases get reported each year; approximately 17% of them result in a fatality.
- Older adults, pregnant women, very young children, and those with compromised or suppressed immune systems stand the greatest chance of becoming infected.
- Note regarding pregnant women diagnosed with Listerosis: Infections during pregnancy may lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, and/or passing of the infection on to the the newborn child.
- Symptoms usually include fever, muscle aches, and gastrointestinal conditions including, but not limited to, diarrhea.
- More severe symptoms may include headache, confusion, and convulsions.
- The majority of patients diagnosed with Listerosis reported their illness to medical professionals only after the infection had already affected areas of the body beyond the gastrointestinal tract.
- Basic proper food handling, cooking, and storage methods serve as the absolute best means of keeping one safe from infection by Listerosis. Keep raw meats away from fresh fruits/vegetables, cook all meats thoroughly, and wash hands/utensils/countertops after encounters with uncooked or undercooked meats
- For additional information on Listerosis, such as a timeline of notable outbreaks in the United States, please take a look at the source article on the CNN web site
In a nutshell, basic food safety practices can drastically reduce one’s risk of infection. According to what we have read over the years, most cases of food poisoning did NOT have to happen and would not have happened if people had handled raw goods properly, kept raw goods away from other goods that would not get cooked, cooked meat products thoroughly and to the recommended internal temperatures, and stored raw or cooked goods properly.
Keeping one’s kitchen, cooking, food prep, and food service areas clean and clear of debris that could harbor potentially harmful bacteria, etc. also helps!
Products to test disinfecting and/or sanitizing solutions?
While at home most people would not usually test the strengths of cleaning solutions used to keep surfaces bacteria and germ-free, food production facilities and food service establishments DO have to test for things like chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, chlorine dioxide, ozone, iodine, quaternary ammonia, etc.