Listeria alarm in food: what is going on?

In recent weeks, there is increasing talk of Listeria alarm, a bacterium that can contaminate certain foods and can be lethal for people who eat them raw. Let’s clarify what is happening

The number of victims of ListeriaL’food infection caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenesresponsible for contamination of some foods which can be lethal if eaten raw. The last case in chronological order dates back to September 29, when in Alexandria an 80-year-old man died after being infected with the bacterium. Furthermore, the warning with which the brand is of the last few hours ‘Merry Flavors’ did know that even some of the salmon sandwiches put on the market by them present traces of Listeria monocytogenes, by collecting the contaminated batches and requesting their immediate return to all consumers who have already purchased them and who will be promptly reimbursed. Faced with this news it is easy to panic, but first we must first clarify what Listeria actually ishow it is transmitted, what are the main symptoms, when to worry and how to prevent itfollowing the advice provided by Ministry of Health.

Video of Bianca Bonafede

Not just sausages: the cases of Listeria in Italy

Not only sausageuntil now considered the main vehicles of Licteriabut also salmon. This is reported by the same brand ‘Allegri Sapori’ which, through a press release, warned of the presence of this bacterium within some salmon sandwiches belonging to lots n. 22952 1 and n. 22952 2 put on the market by them. Consumers who have purchased them are (obviously) invited to “Do not consume the product” and “return it to the store for refund or replacement by 10/10/2022”as can also be read on the website of the Ministry of Health.

Currently there would be approximately 67 i hospitalizations for Listeriosis infectionof which 4 proved to be deadly. The regions mainly affected by this food contamination are the Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna and Piedmont, where the last case in chronological order was recorded, unfortunately with a tragic outcome. To be killed by a form of meningitis triggered byl Listeria monocytogenes bacterium was a 80-year-old man living in Alexandria. According to the reconstructions provided by Republic and to the statements of relatives, it would seem that the elderly man used to eat raw sausages, which actually appears to have purchased in the weeks prior to death. To support the hypothesis that it was precisely this food that infected man, the fact that the brand of the frankfurters he bought was also supplied by Tre Valli farm, responsible for selling contaminated meat until 12 September.

What is Listeria or Listeriosis?

To clarify this infection, first of all it is necessary to clarify what it is about. There Listeriaalso known as listeriosisis defined by Humanitas a food poisoning “ caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. This pathogen is usually found in water and soil and, therefore, it can contaminate certain easily foods which, in fact, the meat, vegetables and cheeses, especially the soft ones. Given its high resistance to high temperaturesthe risk of becoming infected with this bacterium increases when any contaminated food is ingested raw.

How it manifests itself: the main symptoms

Should you contract the Listeria, Humanitas explains that they would occur two possible scenarios: that of the so-called “Typical form”, or one food poisoning “Which manifests itself within a few hours after ingestion which causes diarrhea“And that – the worst and most dangerous – of the”invasive form“, Also known as”systemic”, Whereby the infection“ from the intestine passes into the blood and spreads throughout the body, reaching the nervous system“. In this case, Listeria can provoke “encephalitis, meningitis and rather severe forms of sepsis”. Should this second circumstance occur, Humanitas always specifies, “between the ingestion of contaminated food and the manifestation of symptoms it can take a month “.

In general, i symptoms of the typical as well as milder form are usually “fever, nausea, diarrhea and body aches“, While in the case of the systemic form”headaches, confusion, neck stiffness and loss of balance“.

However, as specified by the same Ministry of Health“After consuming contaminated food, most healthy adults do not have any symptoms or can manifest mild gastrointestinal symptoms short term. Instead, the most sensitive subjectssuch as pregnant women, infants, the elderly, immunocompromised individuals and people with certain diseases, such as diabetes, can develop severe forms of the disease, also following the consumption of slightly contaminated food “. Currently, the Ministry always specifies, “In Italy and in the other countries of the European Union, cases of listeriosis show a trend towards growth and they mainly affect people over the age of 65“.


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How to prevent the risk of Listeria

Is Humanitas that the Ministry of Health provide some practical guidance on how prevent the risk of Listeriasuch as:

  • make sure to cook food completely
  • thoroughly clean the vegetables
  • keep strictly separate raw from cooked foods, both in preparation and storage
  • use different and clean utensils for each product
  • to wash hands whenever food has been touched, especially if it is raw
  • consume exclusively pasteurized dairy products
Jessica Genco

Graduated from the master’s degree in European and Extra-European Languages ​​and Literatures, she is fluent in English and Swedish, a language she has a weakness for as well as for the country in which …

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Videogames entered his life in the late '80s, at the time of the first meeting with Super Mario Bros, and even today they make it a permanent part, after almost 30 years. Pros and defects: he manages to finish Super Mario Bros in less than 5 minutes but he has never finished Final Fight with a credit ... he's still trying.

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