Listeriosis is an infection caused by Listeria monocytogenes. In 2011, Listeria-contaminated cantaloupe caused the death of 33 people across the United States. The outbreak, traced to a farm in Colorado, was caused by unsanitary storage, antiquated cleaning equipment and poor agricultural hygiene.
By March of this year, one person had died and eight others were hospitalized after ingesting cheese contaminated with listeria bacteria. Traced to a Wisconsin cheese manufacturer that has since been shuttered by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), conditions at the facility included cheese production and storage facilities in moldering buildings open to the elements.
One hopes these conditions and contamination are the exception. Still, a review of recent recalls reveals the following:
- Ready-to-eat wraps and sandwich meats from California: Approximately 181,000 pounds of product shipped throughout the western United States could be contaminated with E. Coli.
- Chicken, ham and beef products from Kansas: More than 22,000 pounds of product could be contaminated with listeria.
- Dole bagged salad: Distributed throughout the Northeast, Dole is recalling certain bagged salads that could be contaminated with listeria.
Because it survives and multiplies when refrigerated, listeria is a pernicious bacteria. While those with compromised immune systems, such as the elderly, pregnant or very young are more vulnerable, healthy adults are also at risk from Listeriosis.
At home, store food properly and keep your refrigerator and cooking surfaces clean. At a restaurant or at the store, avoid soft cheeses and deli meats—or reheat until steaming.
Food safety in the United State continues to be a serious concern. If a loved one is seriously injured or killed through ingestion of contaminated food products in New York, talk to an injury attorney with our firm.