Listeriosis is a disease caused by the bacteria listeria monocytogenes found in soil and water. It causes you flu-like symptoms, but can cause serious health problems for your baby, such as miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery or a life-threatening infection. (1) Anyone can get it, but your chances are increased in pregnancy.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has detailed recommendations to help avoid listeriosis on their website. (1) A partial list of ways to avoid listeriosis are listed here.
- Rinse raw produce, such as fruits and vegetables, thoroughly under running tap water before eating, cutting or cooking. Even if the produce will be peeled, it should be washed first. Melons have particular information on the CDC website for cleaning, preparing and storage.
- Heat meats to at least 165° F: especially hot dogs, luncheon meats, cold cuts or deli meats.
- Avoid getting fluid from hot dog packages on other foods, utensils and food preparation surfaces.
- Wash hands after handling hot dogs, luncheon meats, cold cuts and deli meats.
- Do not eat refrigerated pates or meat spreads from a deli or meat counter or from the refrigerated section of a store. Canned or shelf-stable pates and meat spreads may be eaten and then refrigerated after opening.
- Do not eat the following soft cheeses such as feta, brie and camembert, blue-veined cheese or Mexican-style cheese such as queso blanco, queso fresco, and queso panela, unless they have labels that clearly state they are made from pasteurized milk. Other cheeses made with pasteurized milk are fine. Also know, Mexican-style cheeses made from pasteurized milk have caused listeria infections.
- Do not eat refrigerated smoked seafood such as salmon, trout, whitefish, cod, tuna and mackerel, they are most often labeled as “nova-style”, “lox”, “kippered”, “smoked”, or “jerky”. Canned or shelf-stable tuna, salmon and other fish products are safe to eat.
- DO NOT drink raw unpasteurized milk or foods made with it.
- Center for Disease Control, Listeria, Available at http://www.cdc.gov/listeria/ Accessed September 12, 2015.
Additional recommendations can be found at: