• Listeria – the silent food poisoning killer

    There have been a number of listeria outbreaks in the news recently, from chocolate mousse, airline sandwiches to the latest sandwiches and salads served to hospital patients that has to date caused 5 deaths. People who are over 60, already ill and those who are pregnant are most vulnerable to serious and life-threatening illness. Pregnant women can miscarry if they get listeriosis.

    In a recent Kitchen Conversation, I chat with Sterling Crew, a fellow Environmental Health Practitioner about listeria, and provide some tips on how to protect yourself.

    Main tips are:

    • Cook foods till 75 °C in the centre – you need a food thermometer for this. Don’t take risks – cooking will kill the bacteria.
    • Store foods below 5 °C in the fridge to slow the rate of bacterial multiplication – check your fridge is cold enough using a cheap fridge thermometer – get from the supermarkets
    • Keep foods covered in the fridge to prevent contamination
    • Clean kitchen surfaces after preparing raw meats and vegetables, and the fridge using an anti-bacterial cleaner and paper towel – don’t spread bacteria around with a dirty cloth
    • Never eat foods after the expiry of the Use By Date (Best before doesn’t matter as this is just about quality not safety).

    You can’t taste, see or smell listeria so don’t take any chances.


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