Sunday, January 20, 2013


Sometimes it seems that the dangerous bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes is everywhere in our food supply. One product recall quickly follows another, at least in the United States. The most recent recall was issued yesterday by LJD Holdings, Inc.( doing business as B and D Foods). They recalled some 33,500 pounds of fully cooked meat and poultry products because of possible contamination by Listeria monocytogenes (click on the recall link on this page to get details of products recalled).

So what can you safely eat? This question is most important for pregnant women, older people, anyone with a compromised immune system, and anyone who has kidney disease, certain cancers, diabetes or is an alcoholic. For such people, a single lunch, dinner or snack can prove fatal. No, I am not exaggerating. While it is estimated that some 20-30 percent of Listeria infections result in death, the rate is much greater for people in the high risk group - estimates placing it anywhere between 40-70 percent.

I have written a lot about this issue in previous blog postings. But here are some of the basics.

People in the high risk groups may want to avoid "ready-to-eat" foods unless they are cooked thoroughly first. Such foods include:

Luncheon meats, bologna, pastrami, salami, cold-smoked salmon, refrigerated pate, meat spreads and other similar deli products.
Store-sold salads such as chicken salad, tuna salad, ham salad, seafood salad.
Ready-made sandwiches or similar foods.
Raw (unpasteurized) milk or foods made with unpasteurized milk.
Soft cheeses such as quesco blanco, quesco fresco, Feta, Brie, Camembert cheeses, blue-veined cheeses and similar unless the label states that they are made with pasteurized milk.

However - and I wish I didn't have to say this - L. monocytogenes sometimes also turns up in other foods (for instance in butter, and even whole produce), so even if you avoid such foods, it will not be a 100 percent guarantee of safety.

To your good health,

1 comment:

Muhammad Amir said...

I am not exaggerating. While it is estimated that survival warehouse emergency food some 20-30 percent of Listeria infections result in death,