Friday, September 30, 2011


I expect that you have heard that cantaloupes from a specific farm in the USA are responsible for some cases of listeria poisoning.  
The actual full name is listeria monocytogenes bacterium and to be acutely ill from this food borne pathogen is to have listeriosis.
The bacterium can contaminate different types of foods but it gets on fruits and vegetables from soil OR manure used as fertilizer.  Since manure was a topic of the blog this week- I found a certain irony in that.
Listeria is usually not a problem for healthy adults, but can have serious implications for pregnant women, very young children, the elderly and frail adults who have compromised immune systems.  Pregnant women who become ill from contaminated foods can pass the infection on to their newborns.
Symptoms do not occur immediately - which is why the number of cases and the spread of contamination is an ongoing story.  The condition of listeriosis is diagnosed by physical exam and blood test.
If you are interested in learning more, I would suggest the CDC or WebMD websites.
Oh - and most importantly - WASH your produce before you handle it and cut it - yes - before you cut into a melon, you should wash the outside.  If you do not wash the outside, what is on the rind will go inside when you pierce it with a knife.

1 comment:

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The current listeria outbreak that killed 16 people and sickened more than 70 years, is believed to be the deadliest epidemic in more food.