What is Listeria?

Listeria monocytogenes (CDC)
Listeria monocytogenes (CDC)

The Centers for Disease Control estimates "approximately 1600 illnesses and 260 deaths due to listeriosis [infection caused by listeria] occur annually in the United States." Even though responsible for fewer illnesses than other pathogens that are out there, listeria's relatively high mortality rate (especially for certain segments of the population) naturally resonates with both consumers and food producers as a focus for concern.

Consumers may be surprised to find out that, opposed to being some isolated super-bug,  "Listeria monocytogenes is commonly found in soil and water. Animals can carry the bacterium without appearing ill and can contaminate foods of animal origin, such as meats and dairy products."  Beyond that, food processors, understanding the threat that listeria presents, are especially concerned with the fact that: "When Listeria bacteria get into a food processing factory, they can live there for years, sometimes contaminating food products"(CDC).

What can be done to prevent Listeria?

Consumers can check out information on prevention from the following sources:

CDC Listeria Prevention
FDA Special Handling for Ready-to-Eat, Refrigerated Foods

Food processors, in addition to reviewing practices/standards, and reviewing local, state, and federal resources to address the issue, can also focus on some of the following areas to help minimize risk:

Cleaning and Sampling

Alpet® D2 Sanitizing Products
3M™ Petrifilm™ Environmental Listeria Plates
Buffered Peptone Repair Broth for Listeria Plates
3M™ Petrifilm™ Environmental Listeria Plate Spreader
3M™ Letheen Broth
3M™ Sponge-Stick
Hygiena InSite™ Listeria Environmental Test

Ensuring Proper Temperatures When Processing and Handling Food

Thermco®  Triple Display Thermometers
EconoTemp Series Digital Lab Thermometer
Pocket Thermometers
Food Testing Thermometers
Bi-Metal Thermometers
Check-Set IV Thermometer Calibrator

Separating Foods and Parts of the Production/Preparation Process to Avoid Cross-Contamination

A complete color-coded system helps your sanitation program by assuring that plant tools stay in the areas in which they are meant to be used, doing jobs they are meant to do. This helps stop bacterial migration between areas of the plant, and even from one application to another.

Nelson-Jameson brings together the most extensive collection of color-coded products for materials handling, product handling, janitorial, safety, apparel, QA/QC, and metal detectable applications. View our complete collection here.

For more information contact our Customer Service Department 800-826-8302.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).