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US: Those on the lookout for Listeria are finding it this year

Food Safety News: More than two dozen food recalls so far this year due to contamination with deadly Listeria monocytogenes do not necessarily mark an increase, but they are involving a much broader range of foods and popular brands which the public has never before associated with the nasty pathogen. And while Listeria-related recalls this year are numerous, only one of about 25 recalls to date is associated with an illness outbreak. Last year, there were four. But the one outbreak, linked to Blue Bell Creameries and involving 10 illnesses and three associated deaths, is another demonstration of Listeria’s high fatality rate. Listeria is a bacteria found in soil and water and some animals, including poultry and cattle. Unlike most germs, Listeria can grow and thrive in cold temperatures. Once thought of as the “hot dog pathogen” for showing up in products such as cold cuts, this year’s recalls are showing that Listeria contamination now casts a much wider net.

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