What Foods Is Listeria Commonly Found In?

A recent listeria outbreak has left many people concerned about how to avoid getting sick. Listeria is a type of bacteria that can cause severe illness, and it's often found in food. Some of the most common foods you can find listeria in include soft cheeses, deli meats, raw fish, and unpasteurized milk, according to the FDA.

You can avoid getting sick from listeria by taking some simple precautions. Avoid soft cheeses unless they're made with pasteurized milk, and be sure to cook deli meats until they're steaming hot before eating them. Only eat raw fish that has been frozen first. When it comes to storing food and cooking at home, be sure to wash the interior of your refrigerator, including the shelves, doors, and walls often. Sanitize cutting boards, countertops, and utensils that may have come into contact with contaminated food with a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water. Dry everything with a fresh cloth or paper towel. Before handling food, after handling it, and after any cleaning or hygienic procedure, wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Taking these precautions will help you avoid getting sick.

What is listeria?

Listeria is a bacterium that can cause food poisoning. Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, and diarrhea. If the infection spreads to the nervous system, it can cause meningitis, which is a serious and potentially fatal illness (via Mayo Clinic). Listeria is found in soil and water, but it can also contaminate food through contact with contaminated surfaces or hands. The bacteria can grow at refrigerator temperatures, so it is important to clean your fridge regularly and cook food properly.

Listeria infections are most common in pregnant women, young children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems. Pregnant women are at risk because the infection can cause miscarriage or stillbirth. Young children and the elderly are more susceptible to listeria infections because their immune systems are not as strong. People with weakened immune systems are at risk because the infection can cause serious and potentially fatal illnesses. If you think you have a listeria infection, see your doctor immediately. Listeria is a serious illness and should be treated promptly. Early diagnosis and treatment are important for preventing serious complications.