Most of us have eaten frozen vegetables, bagged salad, or store-bought meat within the last week. While food safety has certainly improved over the last 50 years, it still has a long way to go. Food-bourne illnesses like listeriosis are nothing to take lightly.
According to the CDC, there are 1600 illnesses and 260 deaths annually due to listeriosis caused by contaminated food.
Food giant, Dole, is facing a wrongful death lawsuit after a large outbreak of listeriosis caused by their bagged salad products earlier this year. Although many people experience a simple stomach upset after ingesting contaminated food; others, especially pregnant women and the elderly, can become seriously ill or even die.
The Dole lawsuit claims that the company has known since 2014 that their processes and facilities were not protecting consumers from contamination, and even that they knew their facility was contaminated with listeria, but that they sold the contaminated salad mix anyway. At least one man and one woman died from that outbreak. Another woman was left in a coma after eating the contaminated salad and falling ill with listeriosis. Attorneys for her daughter discovered that Dole performed swab tests at its Springfield facility that tested positive for listeria as many as nine times over the course of a year.
In a recent announcement, the National Frozen Foods Corporation recalled dozens of frozen vegetable products that may be contaminated with listeria. It’s essential that you check your freezer for these items and return any potentially contaminated products to the store from which they were purchased.
So, what can you do to prevent listeriosis and other food-borne illnesses?
Follow the FDA recommendations for washing and handling food- especially during summer cook-outs
Keep your kitchen cleaner
Know the safe serving and holding temperatures for meat
Be sure to store foods as recommended
If you are pregnant, be sure to avoid foods that are more likely to contain bacteria like listeria.
With some simple steps, you can help protect your family and friends.