Listeria is a very serious infection caused by eating foods that are contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. This infection primarily affects pregnant women and newborns so it’s important to be aware of what you put into your body. Listeria can cause premature birth or miscarriage. In an effort to keep our expectant moms and babies healthy, we would like to spread some awareness on the subject.
Almost all fruits and veggies can come in contact with Listeria. However, it’s not a good idea to avoid this group all together because they provide essential vitamins and nutrients into your diet. Vegetables that grow in soil like carrots and potatoes are more likely to contain the bacterium. It’s crucial that you wash and peel and wash again before consuming these foods. Cantaloupe and melons carry it on the outer skin but don’t affect the inner flesh part of the fruit.
Preserved and smoked meats like deli meats, sausages and hot dogs, that are often eaten cold can carry Listeria. Refrigerating foods does not prevent the growth of the bacterium. It’s best to incorporate these meats into hot meals because the heat will kill the infected areas.
Soft ripened and semi-soft cheese like Brie, Gouda and Havarti also have the potential to cause Listeria. If you need a cheesy fix, make sure to cook it on high heat. Listeria has also been found in pasteurized and unpasteurized milk.
Canned and raw seafood like sushi and salmon tests the highest for Listeria. Reinvent these cold foods into a hot pasta or casserole.
If you clean and heat these foods properly, you have nothing to worry about. Expecting Moms can continue to enjoy their favorite foods while still maintaining a healthy body!