Reducing the Risk of Listeriosis

Food Safety Advice: How can people reduce the risk of listeriosis infection?

  • Foods should be kept out of the temperature danger zone (between 4°C and 60°C or 40°F and 140°F). Keep the refrigerator at 4°C (40°F) or colder. Foods should be refrigerated promptly.
  • Thoroughly cook raw meats such as beef, lamb, pork, or poultry.
  • Wash raw vegetables and fruit before eating.
  • Avoid unpasteurized (raw) milk or foods made with it. 
  • Keep raw meat separate from vegetables, cooked foods, and ready-to-eat foods including using separate cutting boards for raw meat and foods that are ready to eat.
  • Wash your hands before and after preparing food and after handling animals.
  • Clean all utensils, cutting boards, work surfaces with mild bleach solution.
  • Follow 'best before' or expiry dates on food items.
  • If possible, buy only as much product as will be consumed in one or two days.

What precautions should persons at high risk take to reduce the risk of listeriosis infection?

As well as following all the procedures listed above, high risk individuals, such as pregnant women, the elderly or those who have a weakened immune system, should generally avoid eating high risk foods such as deli-meats and certain cheeses.

In order to reduce the risk, safer alternatives are provided in the table that follows.

Foods to Avoid Safer Alternatives
Hot dogs, especially straight from the package without further heating. The fluid within hot dog packages may contain more Listeria than the hot dogs. Reheat hot dogs until steaming hot.
Deli-meats Reheat deli-meats until steaming hot.
Soft and semi-soft cheeses such as feta, brie, camembert and blue-veined cheese if they are made from unpasteurized milk Choose pasteurized milk and milk products including cheeses made from pasteurized milk.
Refrigerated pâté and meat spreads Eat canned or shelf-stable pâté and meat spreads.
Refrigerated smoked seafood and fish Cook refrigerated smoked seafood and fish or eat canned or shelf-stable varieties.
Raw or undercooked meat, poultry and fish Thoroughly cook meat, poultry and fish.

For More Information

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