What are your thoughts about so many food items being recalled for contamination? Currently, grape tomatoes, ground beef and cantaloupes are several of the items recalled for bacterial contamination. Tyson Fresh Meats Inc. has recalled 131,000 pounds of ground beef for potential contamination with E. coli O157. This form of E. coli is potentially deadly. No doubt you’ve heard about the deaths resulting from cantaloupes contaminated with Listeria or what’s referred to as listeriosis.
Just what is listeriosis? A serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, listeriosis, like E. coli mentioned above is ugly and can be deadly.
So what signs should you watch for if you think you’ve consumed a tainted cantaloupe? First, and don’t miss this… it’s really important. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Listeria symptoms may not show up for up to two months so don’t forget this if you consumed a cantaloupe from the recall list and start to have any of these symptoms. Listeria bacteria can grow in the cantaloupe at room and at refrigerator temperatures.
Symptoms of listeriosis include:
Fever and muscle aches
Headaches, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions
Diarrhea and/or other gastrointestinal symptoms
Listeriosis is an invasive infection: means the bacteria spread beyond the gastrointestinal tract.
What can you do day-in and day-out to keep yourself and your family safe from potential food poisoning resulting from E coli, Listeria or other dangerous pathogens? These recommendations from the CDC may sound silly or like no-brainers but you would be surprised how many people do not follow proper sanitation when they touch or handle food.
Wash raw fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water before eating, cutting, or cooking. Even if the produce will be peeled, still wash it.
Scrub firm produce such as melons and cucumbers with a clean produce brush.
Dry the produce with a clean cloth or paper towel.
Separate uncooked meats and poultry from vegetables and fruit, cooked foods, and ready-to-eat foods.
Wash hands, knives, countertops, and cutting boards with hot, soapy water after handling and preparing uncooked foods and raw produce.
Obtain a refrigerator thermometer and check the temperature. The refrigerator should be 40°F or lower and the freezer 0°F or lower.
Clean regularly the inside walls and shelves of your refrigerator with hot water and liquid soap, then rinse.
Cook raw food from animal sources, such as beef, pork, or poultry to a safe internal temperature. For a list of recommended temperatures for meat and poultry, visit the safe minimum cooking temperatures chart at FoodSafety.gov.
Forget about relying on the color or look of meat to tell you if it’s done. A look-see is not accurate at all. If you don’t have a food thermometer, get one. It’s one of the best investments you can make and the only way to know the real temperature.
Check out this quick video on ways to protect yourself and your family from food poisoning. Let these tips become part of your routine every time you touch food!
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