Listeria infections increase from consumption of contaminated ready-to-eat food, says EFSA

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Overig advies 29/01/2018 11:33
29 Jan 2018 --- Listeria cases have increased among two groups of the population: people over 75 and women aged 25-44, many of which are believed to be pregnancy-related. This is one of the main conclusions of an EFSA scientific opinion on Listeria monocytogenes and risks to public health from consumption of contaminated ready-to-eat food. The opinion covers the period 2008-2015.

Experts began work on the scientific opinion after the 2015 EU summary report on foodborne zoonotic diseases identified an increasing trend of listeriosis over the period 2009-2013.

EFSA experts concluded that the higher incidence of listeriosis among the elderly was likely linked to the increased proportion of people aged over 45 with underlying health conditions, such as cancer and diabetes.

The rise in consumption of ready-to-eat foods and an improved monitoring system in some Member States may also have contributed to this trend.

Most people get infected through the consumption of ready-to-eat foods such as smoked and cured fish, heat-treated meat and soft and semi-soft cheese. However, other foods – such as prepared salads – can also lead to infections.

Experts estimated that one-third of cases of listeriosis are due to the growth of Listeria monocytogenes in food prepared and stored at home in the refrigerator. This highlights the importance of following good hygiene practices, such as respecting recommended storage temperatures and times. International organizations such as the World Health Organization advise that foods should be refrigerated below 5°C.

This scientific opinion was finalized after considering more than 200 comments received during a public consultation.

Panera Bread recalls cream cheese products from its US bakeries
Yesterday (28th Jan), soup and sandwiches restaurant chain, Panera Bread, said it would recall cream cheese products sold in its US cafes over possible Listeria contamination.

The bakery-café chain went ahead with the recall after samples of one type of 2-ounce cream cheese from a single production day tested positive for the presence of Listeria monocytogenes, Panera said in its initial announcement.

Despite the finding in only one day of production, Panera Bread is issuing a voluntary recall of all varieties of the 2 oz. and 8 oz. cream cheese.

“The safety of our guests and associates is paramount, therefore we are recalling all cream cheese products sold in the US with an active shelf life. We have likewise ceased all manufacturing in the associated cream cheese facility,” said Blaine Hurst, Panera’s President and CEO. “Only one variety of 2-oz cream cheese from a single day yielded the positive result. Our intent is to go above and beyond for our guests. You should expect nothing less from Panera.”

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