Food Safety Moms-to-Be — Listeria
Hi I’m Doctor Andrea Pennington and I know
what you’re going through. As a medical
professional I’ve been working with pregnant
women for several years and I’m pleased
to be talking to you today on behalf of The
Food and Drug Administration. These nine months
can be an exciting time but prepare yourself;
everyone from your favorite aunt to the local
bus driver is going to be giving you advice.
Welcome to the wonderful world of pregnancy.
Listeria is one of the most common bacterial
culprits. It causes an illness called Listeriosis.
This bad guy doesn’t necessarily like to
follow the rules. Listeria can survive in
cold temperatures, like in the refrigerator,
that’s why it is often found in ready to
eat foods. But there are things you can do
to prevent Listeriosis.
I have heard about listeria, I don’t remember
what it is or anything about it.
Listeria causes an illness called Listeriosis,
and it can affect your baby more than it affects
you. The symptoms of Lysteriosis can take
a few days, or even weeks to appear, and the
severity of the symptoms may vary, and may
feel like nothing more than a touch of the
flu. Symptoms may include; sudden onset of
fever, chills, muscle aches, diarrhea or upset
stomach, headache, stiff neck, confusion,
and a loss of balance.
If you had listeria, wouldn’t you know though,
wouldn’t you get the symptoms right away
Well there’s a chance, so if you are pregnant,
and have any of these symptoms, or even if
you think you may be at risk, go to your doctor
or healthcare provider and get a blood test.
Listeriosis can be cleared up with antibiotics,
which in most cases will prevent infection
in the fetus or newborn.
What can I do to prevent listeria?
There are a few simple things you can do to
prevent Listeriosis; use ready to eat perishable
foods as soon as possible; clean the refrigerator
regularly; use a refrigerator thermometer
to make sure that the refrigerator always
stays at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
I am a big cheese fanatic, so I love all kinds
of cheese. I did stay away from brie, though
I did cheat a few times, so.
Do not eat soft cheese, such as feta, brie,
and camembert cheeses, blue-veined cheeses,
queso blanco, queso fresco, and panela, unless
it is labeled as made with pasteurized milk.
You may be interested to know, that the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention has linked
many listeriosis illnesses to eating queso
fresco, or fresh cheese. This Hispanic food
is traditionally made with raw, unpasteurized
milk at home, or brought in from Mexico or
Central America. If you don’t know for sure
that queso fresco, or any soft cheese you
are eating is made with pasteurized milk,
do not eat it. Do not eat refrigerated patés
or meat spreads. Do not eat refrigerated smoked
seafood unless it is contained in a cooked
dish, such as a casserole. Refrigerated smoked
seafood such as salmon, trout, whitefish,
cod, tuna, or mackerel, is most often labeled
as nova style, lox, kippered, smoked, or jerky.
The fish is found in the refrigerator, or
sold at deli counters, or grocery stores and
delicatessens. Do not eat hot dogs and luncheon
meats unless they are preheated until steaming
hot. Do not drink unpasteurized milk, or eat
foods that contain unpasteurized milk. Talk
to your healthcare provider if you have additional
questions or concerns about listeriosis.
For more information on food safety during
your pregnancy, visit the FDA website (www.fda.gov/pregnancyfoodsafety)
as shown on your screen. I’m Dr. Andrea
Pennington, wishing you a happy, healthy pregnancy.