Back to School at FamilyEducation.com
Home > Kids > Childhood Safety > Food Safety > Stay Safe from Listeria
|

Stay Safe from Listeria

Listeria. The name may be new to you, but food safety experts have known about this risky germ for decades. Listeria monocytogenes bacterial infections are on the rise in the United States. This hardy organism, which can grow even at cold temperatures and survive long bouts in the freezer, is causing more and more cases of foodborne illness.

Listeria monocytogenes bacteria cause a condition called listeriosis, characterized by flulike symptoms including fever and chills. Listeriosis may take from three to eight weeks to show up after eating contaminated food. According to the USDA, pregnant women and children are among those at greatest risk from Listeria monocytogenes. Moms-to-be can transmit the illness to their unborn babies, causing miscarriage, stillbirth, or other serious health problems. When recognized early on, listeriosis is treatable with antibiotics. However, it's best to do what you can to avoid listeria infections, since they cause nearly half of reported deaths due to foodborne disease. Most people don't get listeriosis, but of the ones who do, about a quarter of them die from it.

Intense heat, including pasteurization, is lethal for Listeria monocytogenes. Even certain cooked foods, including processed meats such as bologna and other lunch and deli meats and hot dogs, may be health hazards. They may become contaminated within processing plants or en route to your plate. Listeria monocytogenes may even be found in uncooked vegetables.

Avoid Listeria monocytogenes with these tips from the USDA:

  • Reheat until steaming: hot dogs, luncheon meats, cold cuts, fermented and dry sausage, and other deli-style meats and poultry. If you cannot reheat these foods, do not feed them to children or pregnant women.
  • Wash hands with warm soapy water for at least twenty seconds, and do the same for cutting boards, dishes, and utensils.
  • Avoid unpasteurized dairy products of any sort. Soft cheeses such as Brie, Camembert, feta, and blue-veined or Mexican-style cheeses are particularly risky, but hard and processed cheeses, cottage cheese, yogurt, and cream cheese are not.
  • Pitch foods that are past their expiration dates.
  • Thoroughly heat all leftovers.
|

Copyright © 2002 by Elizabeth M. Ward. Excerpted from Healthy Foods, Healthy Kids with permission of its publisher, Adams Media Corporation.

To order this book visit Amazon.com.


stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

get ready for school!

We’ve got your
shopping list,
lunch menu,
and more.

GO

highlights

Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit BICFightForYourWrite.com to sign our petition to save handwriting!

14 Back-to-School Fashion Trends for 2014
Send your kids back to school looking sharp! Check out 2014's hottest back-to-school fashion trends, from clothes to shoes and accessories.

Put a Stop to Bedtime Struggles
Steer clear of tears at bedtime with these helpful bedtime tips and this printable bedtime routine checklist for kids.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!