Good to know!
See below for tips & details on how you can prevent Listeria infection and SPECIFICALLY which populations are higher risk.
(CNN) — An outbreak of illness linked to consumption of tainted cantaloupes has been linked to 13 deaths and 72 illnesses in 18 states, a federal disease agency reported Wednesday.
The outbreak — blamed on the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes — was first reported September 12, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 15 people in four states had been infected. The illnesses were traced to consumption of Rocky Ford cantaloupes grown at Jensen Farms’ fields in Granada, Colorado.
The deaths reported as of Tuesday morning occurred in Colorado (two), Kansas (one), Maryland (one), Missouri (one), Nebraska (one), New Mexico (four), Oklahoma (one), and Texas (two).
The illnesses occurred in those states as well as in California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Montana, North Dakota, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Read More: http://www.cnn.com/2011/09/27/health/cantaloupe-deaths/index.html?hpt=he_c1
How can I reduce my risk for Listeriosis?
There are some general recommendations on how to prevent an infection with Listeria, and some additional recommendations specifically for persons who are at high risk.
General recommendations to prevent an infection with Listeria:
- Thoroughly cook raw food from animal sources, such as beef, pork, or poultry to a safe internal temperature. For a list of recommended temperatures for meat and poultry, visit http://www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/IsItDoneYet_Magnet.pdf.
- Rinse raw fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running tap water before eating.
- Keep uncooked meats and poultry separate from vegetables and from cooked foods and ready-to-eat foods.
- Do not drink raw (unpasteurized) milk, and do not eat foods that have unpasteurized milk in them.
- Wash hands, knives, countertops, and cutting boards after handling and preparing uncooked foods.
- Consume perishable and ready-to-eat foods as soon as possible.
Recommendations for persons at high risk, such as pregnant women and persons with weakened immune systems, in addition to the recommendations listed above, include:
- Do not eat hot dogs, luncheon meats, cold cuts, other deli meats (e.g., bologna), or fermented or dry sausages unless they are heated to an internal temperature of 165°F or until steaming hot just before serving.
- Avoid getting fluid from hot dog and lunch meat packages on other foods, utensils, and food preparation surfaces, and wash hands after handling hot dogs, luncheon meats, and deli meats.
- Do not eat refrigerated pâté or meat spreads from a deli or meat counter or from the refrigerated section of a store. Foods that do not need refrigeration, like canned or shelf-stable pâté and meat spreads, are safe to eat. Refrigerate after opening.
- Do not eat soft cheese such as feta, queso blanco, queso fresco, brie, Camembert, blue-veined, or panela (queso panela) unless it is labeled as made with pasteurized milk. Make sure the label says, “MADE WITH PASTEURIZED MILK.”
- Do not eat refrigerated smoked seafood, unless it is contained in a cooked dish, such as a casserole, or unless it is a canned or shelf-stable product. Refrigerated smoked seafood, such as salmon, trout, whitefish, cod, tuna, and mackerel, is most often labeled as “nova-style,” “lox,” “kippered,” “smoked,” or “jerky.” These fish are typically found in the refrigerator section or sold at seafood and deli counters of grocery stores and delicatessens. Canned and shelf stable tuna, salmon, and other fish products are safe to eat.”
Recommendations to keep food safe:
- Be aware that Listeria monocytogenes can grow in foods in the refrigerator. Use an appliance thermometer, such as a refrigerator thermometer, to check the temperature inside your refrigerator. The refrigerator should be 40°F or lower and the freezer 0°F or lower.
- Clean up all spills in your refrigerator right away–especially juices from hot dog and lunch meat packages, raw meat, and raw poultry.
- Clean the inside walls and shelves of your refrigerator with hot water and liquid soap, then rinse.
- Divide leftovers into shallow containers to promote rapid, even cooling. Cover with airtight lids or enclose in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Use leftovers within 3 to 4 days.
- Use precooked or ready-to-eat food as soon as you can. Do not store the product in the refrigerator beyond the use-by date; follow USDA refrigerator storage time guidelines:
- Hot Dogs – store opened package no longer than 1 week and unopened package no longer than 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
- Luncheon and Deli Meat – store factory-sealed, unopened package no longer than 2 weeks. Store opened packages and meat sliced at a local deli no longer than 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator.