Listeria: The facts

Blog | 18 August 2017

Listeria is a group of bacteria that includes both food bourne pathogens and non-pathogens.  Listeria monocytogenes is the major human pathogen causing a variety of diseases ranging from mild and self –limiting to severe and life threatening.  Listeriosis is an infection that usually develops after eating food contaminated by listeria bacteria.  In most people it is mild and causes symptoms including a high temperature (fever) vomiting and diarrhoea.  The infection can be more severe and spread to other parts of the body causing serious complications.

It’s a major issue within the food industry, causing more deaths in Europe than all other food poisoning bacteria put together. Listeria is well adapted to food processing environments and will survive in low nutrient and moisture conditions to persist and colonise a food-manufacturing plant.  The optimum growth temperature for it is 37°C however it can continue to grow at low temperatures (unlike other food pathogens) therefore it can grow slowly at refrigeration temperatures and has been shown to be able to grow down to -1.5°C in foods that do not freeze at this temperature.

Foods that have been associated with outbreaks of listeriosis includes:

If you are concerned about the control of listeria within your food preparation business then telephone 01706 222288 to speak to one of our consultants.