How to Protect Yourself from Listeria Outbreaks

How to Protect Yourself from Listeria Outbreaks

A recent listeria outbreak in the eastern states of Australia has been linked to contaminated chicken, some of which was served in hospitals. While there have been nine recorded cases so far, no deaths have been reported. M&J Chickens easy-serve breast fillet is believed to be the source behind five cases in Queensland hospitals, with three additional cases recorded in NSW. Listeria cases have also been reported in Victoria and Queensland. Pregnant women, the elderly, and people with chronic illnesses are particularly at risk from listeria.

Listeria is a bacterial infection transmitted through contaminated food. It can be found in ready-to-eat meals, processed meats, soft cheeses, pre-prepared salads, pate, and even raw vegetables and fruits. Symptoms of listeria include acute gastroenteritis, tummy pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In rare cases, it can lead to meningitis. While serious cases are rare, antibiotics can be used to treat the infection.

To protect yourself from listeria, it is important to practice basic hygiene and avoid certain high-risk products, such as pre-cut vegetables. The bacteria can continue to grow even at refrigeration temperatures, so it is essential to be cautious. Listeria is commonly found in soil and can affect pre-cut vegetables, so it is recommended to choose whole produce instead. Maintaining proper food hygiene practices, such as maintaining the right refrigerator temperature and washing fruits and vegetables before consuming them, can greatly reduce the risk of infection.

It is worth noting that farmers and primary producers face challenges in ensuring absolute product contamination-free, making it crucial for consumers to take extra precautions at home.

In conclusion, staying informed about listeria outbreaks and adopting proper food hygiene practices can help protect yourself and loved ones from this bacterial infection.

ABC News: Melanie Vujkovic
Flickr: Alpha
ABC Rural: Lucy Cooper

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