Listeriosis is a comparatively rare form of foodborne illness, but it can be a very serious disease in pregnant women, people with poor immune systems and the elderly who will need to avoid certain foods see this additional Listeria advice. It has also caused occasional outbreaks of mild gastroenteritis in healthy people.
The symptoms are usually described as ‘flu-like’, although vomiting and discoloured urine can occur. Miscarriage can result if a pregnant woman is infected, even if she doesn’t show the symptoms. The time from infection to symptoms can be anywhere between 8 to 90 days.
Listeria is widely found in the environment so most raw foods are likely to be contaminated. Listeria is easily killed by heat, although cooked foods can easily become re-contaminated through poor food handling after cooking.
This is one of the few pathogens that can grow in the refrigerator, so ready to eat food should never be stored in the fridge too long. Although it can grow in the fridge, it will do so only very slowly so make sure your refrigerator is keeping your food at or less than 5 °C and never eat packaged food after its use by date.