Listeria Threatens the Food Industry and Consumer Safety

In April, there were eight recalls due to Listeria monocytogenes in a variety of food products, including frozen vegetables, ice cream, and even hummus. This bacterium is especially dangerous for pregnant women, newborns, the elderly and the immunocompromised because it can potentially evade the immune system and pass through the blood-brain and placental barriers.

While a mild, non-invasive illness (called listerial gastroenteritis) occurs in healthy individuals, a life-threatening illness (called invasive listeriosis) can occur in high-risk individuals, often manifesting as meningitis or encephalitis and causing still-births.  In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that this foodborne pathogen causes 1,591 illnesses each year and more than $2.8 billion in associated healthcare costs, not including the economic burden to industry.

Ubiquitous in the environment, Listeria is especially tough to control since it can survive freezing temperatures and can slowly grow at refrigeration temperatures.  In addition, it has a remarkable ability to form biofilms—a protective matrix of proteins—which shields it from a variety of sanitation measures and boggles the minds of even the best food safety experts.  The abundance of Listeria-related recalls and outbreaks show that more research is needed to improve sanitation controls and monitoring programs to identify and eliminate this deadly pathogen from food processing environments.

Sabra hummus, Bluebell Ice Cream, and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams were among the products affected by Listeria recalls in April.

Sabra—one of the largest hummus producers in the country—was forced to recall 30,000 cases early in the month.

Listeria found in Bluebell Ice Cream was linked to a larger outbreak spanning from January 2010 all the way to January 2015, causing illness in 10 people and killing three.  Bluebell’s first recall started in March, but in April the company  expanded the list to include all its products.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, after also finding in Listeria in their ice cream, issued a recall of all its products out of an abundance of caution.

Unfortunately, public health officials are expecting more illnesses due to the extended shelf-life of frozen products and the long incubation period of invasive listeriosis. In Listeria, this incubation period—the time from when a victim ingests something contaminated to when they show symptoms—can vary from three to 70 days.

To keep up-to-date with the latest recalls cause by Listeria and other harmful pathogens, be sure to check recalls from the FDA.

If you have questions about a product, you can call 1-888-SAFEFOOD Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Eastern time, or to consult http://www.fda.gov.

To learn more about listeriosis click here.

2 Replies to “Listeria Threatens the Food Industry and Consumer Safety”

  1. Glyphosate Modified Organisms carry glyphosate, a patented mineral chelator, antibiotic, herbicide to the crops and to the gut bacteria of animals and humans. Glyphosate does a wonderful job killing bacteria. The only problem is that it kills the good bacteria, leaving the antibiotic resistant bacteria to cause irreversible harm to the animals, humans, soils, waters, and good bacteria in the environment.

    For more information, see: the 2012 study by Krueger, et al on the Effects of Glyphosate on Potential Pathogens and Beneficial Members of Poultry Microbiota In Vitro and look at numbered citations 41 and 42 at http://www.netwerkvlv.nl/downloads/2012-Krueger,%20M-glyphosate%20effects.pdf

  2. Read the study entitled: Detection of Glyphosate Residues in Animals and Humans by Monika Krueger et al which was in Environmental and Analytic Toxicology 2014. The abstract cites the amount of glyphosate identified in cattle, human, and hare urine and organs respectively.
    http://omicsonline.org/open-access/detection-of-glyphosate-residues-in-animals-and-humans-2161-0525.1000210.pdf

    In the USA, we also have glyphosate as air pollution and when it rains, it rains glyphosate and other herbicides, and pesticides. It’s in our air, soils, waters and groundwater, in our food, with soaring levels in conventional and transgenic agriculture. Studies are coming in from all over the world of the health damage to the organs of livestock and humans, the birth defects, cancers, and other health damage due to the intensive use of glyphosate. Plus the so-called tolerance levels of glyphosate have dramatically increased in convwentional agriculture as well. See:
    http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?node=se40.24.180_1364&rgn=div8
    NEARLY ALL THE NUMBERS WERE AT .01 IN 1992. But every year, Monsanto has petitioned the EPA and USDA to increase the tolerance levels in food that human children, babies, and pregnant women and their fetuses and pets eat. Even eating healthy food carries significant levels of glyphosate, which kills beneficial bacteria in the gut but does not cause harm to the nasty bacteria like listeria.
    This nouvelle technology is creating a community of malnourished humans and animals, with gut wrenching diseases and damaged immune systems, inflammation and inflammatory diseases including cancers.

    When I fractured my pelvis in 2014, my physician looked at my x-ray in the hospital and requested a followup appointment for me in his office 4 weeks later. He said that he expected to see someone grow bone within 3 months, but never within 3 weeks. By the time of my office followup, he said that my pelvis was totally healed. How did I grow bone so fast?
    I ate roughly 6 cups chopped, steamed certified organic collards and high calcium -magnesium beans per day, added healthy seeds and nuts to my diet. As well as began eating vegan as a way to reduce pain and inflammation in my body in 2012. Dairy does not grow healthy bone, but eating certified organic healthy vegan definitely does a body good.

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