Contaminated Lidl ham: what is Listeria bacteria?

Contaminated Lidl ham: what is Listeria bacteria?

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Eating food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria can be fatal. To prevent any health risk, the Saint Alby brand has carried out a recall of batches of ham superior without rind Label rouge sold in Lidl stores between March 21 and 25. Cheese, salmon, cold meats… the Rappel Conso site regularly publishes press releases inviting people not to consume products in which the agent responsible for listeriosis has been detected. An update on what you need to know.

A bacteria that can proliferate in refrigerators

A cold-resistant bacteria, Listeria monocytogenes can “multiply at low temperatures (4°)”, notes the Pasteur Institute. It can easily proliferate in refrigerators and survive in freezers. Foods that are eaten raw are the most frequently affected. There is no longer any risk, however, once they are well cooked.

A contaminated product is not detectable: it has the same appearance, taste and smell as a healthy product. Its ingestion does not necessarily cause listeriosis, which remains a rare disease in France. There are “around 5 to 6 cases per million inhabitants per year, or around 400 cases each year”, specifies the Ministry of Agriculture. The elderly, pregnant women and newborns are most at risk.

Symptoms between 2 days and 2 months

The incubation period for listeriosis ranges from two days to two months. In its non-invasive form, the disease manifests itself as diarrhea, fever, headache and muscle pain, a few hours to a few days after ingestion.

In its most severe form, symptoms are more severe and take longer to appear. Among them, the UN website mentions the appearance of fever, myalgia (muscle pain), septicemia (blood infection) or meningitis (inflammation in the brain). Antibiotic treatments exist to treat the disease.

The risks of contamination can be limited thanks to a few good reflexes. Destroying or returning products that are the subject of a recall to the store, respecting the expiration date of food, consuming it quickly after opening or even setting the refrigerator to a temperature below 4°C are all part of this.

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