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FDA and FSIS Issue Health Advisory About Listeria

September 13, 2002

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) are advising the public of a recent increase in cases of Listeria monocytogenes in Pennsylvania and monitoring for possible increases in adjacent states. Contaminated food products can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women, serious and sometimes fatal infections in newborns, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

The specific food associated with the increased incidence of illness has not been identified. For this reason, FDA and FSIS are issuing this advisory as it continues to work closely with CDC and the states to identify the source of contamination. However, because of the number of cases and serious illness caused by Listeria monocytogenes, FDA and FSIS are providing the following information and advice to consumers.

People at risk for listeriosis and their family members or individuals preparing food for them should take the following precautions:

  • Do not eat hot dogs and luncheon meats, unless they are reheated until steaming hot.
  • Do not eat soft cheeses such as Feta, Brie and Camembert cheeses, blue-veined cheeses, and Mexican-style cheeses such as "queso blanco fresco."
  • Do not eat refrigerated p‰tŽs or meat spreads. Canned or shelf-stable p‰tŽs and meat spreads may be eaten.
  • Do not eat refrigerated smoked seafood, unless it is contained in a cooked dish, such as a casserole. Refrigerated smoked seafood, such as salmon, trout, whitefish, cod, tuna or mackerel, is most often labeled as "nova-style," "lox," "kippered," "smoked," or "jerky." The fish is found in the refrigerator section or sold at deli counters of grocery stores and delicatessens. Canned or shelf-stable smoked seafood may be eaten.
  • Do not drink raw (unpasteurized) milk or eat foods that contain unpasteurized milk.

Consumers experiencing the symptoms described above or concerned with exposure should contact their physician immediately.

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!



  
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This article was provided by U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Visit the FDA's website to find out more about their activities and publications.
 
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