Extension notes is written by K-State Extension of Harvey County extension agents Scott Eckert, Susan Jackson and Ryan Flaming. They focus on horticulture and agriculture.
Recently I have read and heard of more concern about Listeria. This topic is nothing new, it has been an issue for many years. There have just been some new studies out lately on Listeria. Listeria monocytogenes is found in dirt, water, and plants. Unlike other bacteria, it grows in cool, moist environments. The illness is uncommon in healthy people, but high risk populations are especially vulnerable, particularly pregnant women.
Listeria monocytogenes can be deadly for vulnerable groups of people. Between 2009-2011, 90 percent of the listeriosis cases were from this group. Vulnerable groups of people include the very young, older adults, pregnant women, newborns, and those with poor immune systems to fight off disease.
Prevention is the best defense. Here are some tips from the CDC:
*Avoid eating raw animal products, including raw milk products, uncooked or lightly cooked eggs, and raw fish and meat dishes.
*Cook raw meat to minimum internal temperature.
*Poultry, 165 F;
*Ground meat, 155 F;
*Steaks and roasts, *145 F;
*Eggs that will be served immediately, 145 F;
*Fruit, vegetables, grains such as rice and pasta and legumes such as beans, refried beans, that will be hot held at 135 F.
*Cold foods should be kept at less than 37 F to 35 F. Strive for 35 F.
*Your freezer at 0 F or lower.
*Wash ALL fruits and vegetables before eating. Avoid eating raw sprouts.
*Avoid hot dogs and other deli style meats unless they are reheated to steaming temperatures.
*Prevent cross contamination between raw or undercooked food and ready to eat food.
*Keep hot foods hot and cold food cold.
*Throw out any product that has passed its use by or expiration date
*Also avoid deli prepared salads, such as chicken or seafood salad. When I read this sentence, the first question that came to mind was "How do I reheat my sandwich made from deli meat or chicken that I brought in my lunch?" Here is Karen Blakeslee's, from the K-State Rapid Response, reply. Reheat the deli meat prior to making the sandwich or heat the meat in a skillet to make a toasted sandwich
For the vulnerable populations, avoid eating these types of food, the deli meats and deli salad mixture.
Keep your kitchen and environment cleaner and safer.
*Wash hands, knives, counter tops, and cutting boards after handling and preparing uncooked foods.
*Be aware that Listeria monocytogenes can grow in foods in the refrigerator. Use an appliance thermometer, to check the temperature inside your refrigerator.
*Clean up all spills in your refrigerator right away, especially juices from hot dog and lunch meat packages, raw meat, and raw poultry.
*Clean the inside walls and shelves of your refrigerator with hot water and liquid soap, then rinse.