About Listeria and Listeriosis
Listeriosis is a serious foodborne illness caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. Babies can be born with listeriosis if their mothers have eaten Listeria-contaminated food during pregnancy. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 2,500 people each year in the United States contract listeriosis, resulting in 500 deaths annually.
Listeriosis affects primarily pregnant women, newborns, the elderly, and adults with weakened immune systems. Initial symptoms may include fever, muscle aches, fatigue, and sometimes gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. If the infection spreads to the nervous system, symptoms may include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, or convulsions.
Listeria is commonly found in soil, water, and on plant material. Animals can carry Listeria without appearing ill and can contaminate food of animal origin, such as meat and dairy products. Listeria may be introduced to a food manufacturing facility through any of these food materials, resulting in the contamination of food processing equipment and the environment.
Listeria food poisoning, or listeriosis, has been associated with uncooked meats, fish (uncooked or smoked), and vegetables, as well as with processed foods, such as cheese (particularly soft cheeses), ice cream, and cold cuts. Non-pasteurized milk or milk products may contain Listeria. Ready-to-eat foods, such as hotdogs and deli meats, may become contaminated with Listeria after cooking but prior to packaging.
To learn more about listeriosis, please see Listeria Food Poisoning Symptoms, or see Food Poisoning Lawyer. The information contained on this page has been gathered from the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and other sources in the public domain.