What to know about listeria outbreaks

A nationwide recall is currently underway for all raw-milk cheeses produced by Vulto Creamery due to possible contamination with listeria. Six people were hospitalized and two died, all sickened by the bacteria.

The FDA has also issued recalls over the last six months for ice cream, cookie dough, frozen vegetables and even frozen waffles.

Not everyone exposed to listeria gets sick from it, but when you do, it can be serious. Most people with invasive listeriosis require hospitalization and one in five who become infected die. The CDC says four groups are most at risk: the elderly, people with compromised immune systems, newborns and pregnant women. Pregnant women are roughly 10 times more likely than the general population to be infected.

There’s really no way to detect listeria ahead of time, but the best way to steer clear of it is to avoid certain types of foods like soft cheeses and unpasteurized dairy products, especially if you’re in a high-risk group.

If you are concerned about anything you ate, be on the lookout for symptoms such as diarrhea, muscle aches and fever. The symptoms can be really tricky because they can either come on right away or they can take up to a month to develop. Sometimes, it’s really hard to pinpoint the source of the infection. Websites like foodsafety.gov can help you keep an eye on food recalls.

If you discover you’ve bought food affected by a listeria recall, seal it in a plastic bag and toss it. The CDC also suggests taking things a step further and wiping down the spot in the refrigerator where it was stored with soap and hot water.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2017 Consumer Reports, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumer.org.

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