One afternoon, last week, I was undergoing my daily “scan-the-news-pages” routine when an article on Los Angeles Times about the recall of some products by Clif bar & company caught my attention. I briefly mentioned it to my sisters but thought nothing of it. A few days later, I saw another article headlining another recall by Nature Valley due to listeria. These articles worried me because there seems to be a rise in listeria outbreak over the years and not enough awareness on the topic.
According to Centre for disease control and prevention (CDC), Listeria or Listeriosis is caused by ingesting food contaminated with the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. In addition to the two cases discussed above, this year alone has seen a major recall of products from companies such as General Mills and Dole because of listeria. This is very concerning because the consumption of foods contaminated with listeria can lead to serious illness and become fatal. The risk of fatality is higher for elderly people, pregnant women and those with previously compromised immune systems. Listeria spreads easily by bringing in contaminated food into one’s house and the bacteria continues to multiply even in the refrigerator.
Listeria is more commonly found in ready-made foods such as deli meats, hot dogs, and store prepared salads. Food items prepared with unpasteurized milk like cheese and ice cream are at risk along with frozen vegetables.
The good news is that Listeria can be prevented. Listed below are some of the ways we can employ to keep this bacteria at bay:
rinse produce thoroughly
scrub produce (such as melons) with a produce brush
separate uncooked meats from vegetables
cook meats thoroughly
clean out refrigerator properly
keep kitchen environment clean.
The process of cooking is exciting for some of us. Sometimes, this excitement makes us neglect the proper cleaning and storage of our foods, which could lead to ingestion of contaminated foods. This post is a reminder that clean eating does not only encompass eating whole foods but also keeping pristine eating and cooking habits.
See you all soon xxxx….