Mon, Mar 12, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Wash and handle food carefully after listeriosis outbreak

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urged people to cook their meat thoroughly and wash or peel fruit and melons carefully before eating them, to prevent being infected by listeria, as there has been a serious outbreak of listeriosis in South Africa.

The South African National Department of Health on March 4 said that between January last year and March 2, there had been 948 laboratory-confirmed cases of listeriosis and 180 of those people had died.

The source of the outbreak was traced to processed meat products, it added.

Separately, 17 listeriosis cases were confirmed across the eastern states of Australia, and Australian authorities on Wednesday last week said that four people had died after consuming listeria-contaminated melon.


The FDA said that listeriosis is caused by eating foods contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, and the bacteria are found in soil, manure used for fertilizer and water.

Foods that are commonly contaminated with listeria include fruit and vegetables, meat and dairy products, and processed foods, the agency said, adding that listeriosis can be deadly to high-risk groups — mainly pregnant women, the elderly, newborns and adults with impaired immune systems.

In order to prevent being infected with listeria, the FDA urged people to wash their hands thoroughly with soap before eating and after using the toilet, keep ingredients fresh, wash fruit and vegetables under running water and cut away any damaged or bruised areas, and wash the outside of melons carefully before cutting them.

Separate raw and cooked food in the kitchen to avoid cross-contamination, cook meat and seafood thoroughly before eating, and avoid dairy products that have not been properly sterilized, it added.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs last week sent out a warning urging travelers to South Africa to maintain good personal hygiene, avoid eating raw foods and seek immediate medical attention if they experience any listeriosis symptoms, which include fever, diarrhea, muscle aches, chills, severe headaches and vomiting.

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