On July 2018, there has been a listeria outbreak in five European countries including the United Kingdom. Supermarkets from the UK have started recalling contaminated frozen goods. Some of which are Pinguin Frozen Sweetcorn, Tesco frozen Mixed Vegetables and Peppers and One Stop Frozen Sweetcorn.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) found that the source of the contamination was from a Hungarian company because the consumers who fell ill bought frozen foods from a supermarket that was supplied by it. The Listeria virus has been affecting other European countries and the UK since 2015. So far, there has only been 47 cases and nine people who died as a result of Listeriosis.
Listeria is known as Listeria monocytogenes, a bacterium that is usually found in dirt and water. Listeria is commonly found in raw foods. It is a food-borne pathogen meaning; it can survive freezing temperatures. Therefore, when a listeria-contaminated food is refrigerated, it only stops the bacteria from growing but does not eliminate it. Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mentioned that Listeria is one of the few bacteria that can multiply when refrigerated.
People who are more likely to be infected by listeria are those who have a weakened immune system such as pregnant women and people aged 65 years old and above. Those who consume listeria and show signs of listeria infection become sick with Listeriosis. Usually, people with mild symptoms do not need any treatment. However, those with more severe conditions can be treated with anti-biotic. As for pregnant women, prompt antibiotic therapy will be given to avoid the baby from getting infected.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has advised the public to take precautionary measures by making sure that frozen foods are cooked before eating as the bacteria dies when cooked. Products that were bought from stores that have affected food should be returned for a full refund. Wash one’s hands and keep kitchens and refrigerators clean.