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Listeria Monocytogenes

Is a harmful bacterium that can cause listeriosis.

Listeriosis is an illness to which pregnant women and their unborn children are very susceptible.

Listeria can be found in

Refrigerated, ready-to-eat foods
Meat, poultry, seafood
Dairy - unpasteurized milk and milk products
Foods made with unpasteurized milk
Foods made from infected animals.

L. monocytogenes is unusual because it can grow at refrigerator temperatures where most other foodborne bacteria do not.

You can get listeriosis by eating food contaminated with L. monocytogenes.

Ready-to-eat meats, poultry, seafood, and dairy products
Homemade soft cheese and other foods made from unpasteurized milk
Foods processed or packaged in unsanitary conditions
Vegetables that are contaminated from the soil or from manure

How Could Listeriosis affect me?

The symptoms can take a few days or even weeks to appear and may include fever, chills, muscle aches, diarrhea or upset stomach, headache, stiff neck, confusion, and loss of balance. In more serious cases, listeriosis could also lead to the mother's death.

Most of the time, pregnant women who are infected with listeriosis don't feel sick. However, they can pass the infection to their unborn babies without even knowing it. That's why prevention of listeriosis is very important. In any case, if you experience any of the above symptoms, see your doctor immediately.

Facts: Pregnant women are about 20 times more likely to get listeriosis than other healthy adults. An estimated 1/3 of all Listeria cases occur in pregnant women.

How could Listeriosis affect my baby

During the first trimester of pregnancy, listeriosis may cause miscarriage.

As the pregnancy progresses to third trimester, the mother is more at risk. Listeriosis can also lead to

Premature labor
Delivery of a low-birth-weight infant
Intrauterine fetal death
Infant death

Fetuses who suffer a late infection may develop a wide range of health problems, including:

Mental retardation
Impairments of brain
Impairment of heart
Impairment of kidney
Blood Infection in newborn
Meningitis in newborn

Listeriosis Can Be Prevented

Your refrigerator should register 4 C or below
Place thermometer in refrigerator and check temperature weekly
Your freezer should register -18 C or below.
Refrigerate or freeze perishables within 2 hours of eating or preparation.
Discard food that's left out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours.
When temperatures are above 32 C, discard food after one hour.

Use ready-to-eat, perishable foods, such as dairy, meat, poultry, seafood, and produce, as soon as possible.

Fridge Tips

Clean your refrigerator regularly
Wipe up spills immediately
Clean the inside fridge with hot water and mild detergent then rinse
Once a week, check expiration and "use by" dates
Throw out foods if the date has passed
Follow the recommended storage times for foods

Dont eat:

Hot dogs and luncheon meats unless they're reheated and steaming hot
Soft cheeses like Feta, Brie, and Camembert, blue-veined cheeses
Queso blanco or fresco unless they're made with pasteurized milk
Refrigerated pts or meat spreads
Refrigerated smoked seafood* unless it's in a cooked dish, i.e. casserole
Raw (unpasteurized) milk or foods that contain unpasteurized milk

*(Refrigerated smoked seafood, such as salmon, trout, whitefish, cod, tuna, or mackerel is most often labeled as nova-style, kippered, smoked. These types of fish are found in the refrigerator section or sold at deli counters of grocery stores and delicatessens.)

Its safe to eat:

Canned or shelf-stable pts and meat spreads
Canned or shelf-stable smoked seafood

Pasteurized milk or foods that contain pasteurized milk

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