Listeria: the "invisible killer" in the refrigerator

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  • Source: Dongyang Information Network

    The invisible killer in the refrigerator-Listeria. (Image source: Beijing Morning Post)

    According to the Beijing Morning Post, in early July 2016, Listeria, a big invisible killer in the refrigerator, was "wanted" by the China Food and Drug Administration, and the State Food and Drug Administration issued a risk alert on the prevention of food contamination by Listeria. It is suggested that Listeria monocytogenes is an important factor that threatens food safety and is widely present in our daily life. The general public should pay attention to prevention. So far, this food-borne pathogenic bacteria, which has been neglected in the past but widely exists in daily life, has finally attracted the attention of the general public.

    What is Listeria?

    Listeria is one of the important food-borne pathogens. According to the official website of the State Food and Drug Safety Administration, Listeria monocytogens (LM) is the most common species of human-borne foodborne diseases in the genus Listeria, which is widely found in nature. It is easy to spread through multiple channels and can cause contamination of various foods. Humans and animals can cause listeriosis after ingesting food contaminated by the bacteria. LM infection of humans and animals can cause diseases such as meningitis, sepsis, endocarditis, abortion, etc. It may also cause stillbirth of pregnant women, with a mortality rate of up to 30%.

    Generally speaking, bacteria cannot survive at low temperatures, but Listeria are "not afraid of cold." Fan Yanlei, a PhD in biology from Tsinghua University, said in an interview with the Beijing Morning Post that Listeria is very adaptable to its living environment. Generally speaking, it is in the temperature range of 2-42 ° C, and it is acidic or alkaline. They can survive and reproduce in large numbers under conditions, and some studies have claimed that Listeria can even survive and reproduce slowly in environments below zero degrees Celsius. Based on the survival characteristics of Listeria, even ice cream in the environment of full-scale cold chain transportation may be infected by it.

    How to prevent Listeria?

    First, it is best to store cold foods separately after sealing to reduce the chance of Listeria and other bacteria invading the body;

    Secondly, try to avoid eating raw cold vegetables and meat foods. Food should be heated at a temperature of at least 70 ° C for 2 minutes before eating;

    Third, disinfect the refrigerator regularly to reduce the possibility of breeding Listeria and other bacteria in the refrigerator. In addition, pregnant women, elderly people over 65 years of age, and people with low immunity should pay attention to the above three points, and try to avoid unpasteurized milk, cheese, barbecue food, sushi, sashimi, etc. Be sure to wash fruits and vegetables. (Zhang Huqin)

    This article was scientifically controlled by Liu Xiao, a preventive medicine physician at the Beijing Tongren Hospital.

    (Editors: Zuo Yunsen (Intern), Zhang Xi)

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