From spinach and sprouts, to hummus and ice cream, Listeria recalls are becoming contagious. Last week, Jeni’s Ice Cream and Blue Bell Creamery shuttered kitchens and scoop shops to better understand and eliminate the source of the contamination. So what exactly is Listeria, and how does it get into our food…and into our bodies? And perhaps most importantly, what must manufacturers do to clean it up?
What is Listeria?
Listeria is a common bacterium found in soil and water that is easily introduced into kitchens and manufacturing facilities via raw vegetable or animal products. Once it contaminates an area it can be challenging to get rid of; unlike most bacteria, Listeria grows well in refrigeration. Often found in processed meats and unpasteurized dairy, Listeria may infect other foods through contact with affected equipment.
When a person contracts Listeria, it can cause symptoms that mimic food poisoning, including fever, muscle aches, and gastrointestinal complications. Listeria generally impacts only the elderly, people with compromised immune systems, and pregnant women. It can cause miscarriage, stillbirth and premature labor for women, and may lead to serious illness or death in newborn babies and older adults. Most healthy children and younger adults can consume listeria with little ill effect.
What Can Be Done?
As Listeria spreads, so do concerns. To keep an environment free from Listeria, there are a few things to keep in mind:
• Before you can eliminate bacteria you must first remove all grime and dirt from a surface area. This allows the treatment to reach the source of the problem.
• Combination detergent/sanitizers are typically ineffective against Listeria outbreaks. An EPA-registered stand-alone disinfectant helps guarantee that deadly bacteria is eliminated.
• Increasing the concentration of product will not compensate for inadequate cleaning. When using any cleaning product, follow the manufacturer’s directions exactly. Disinfectants must be applied in the prescribed amount and left on surfaces during a “cure time” in order to fully treat the area.
For business owners, the threat of Listeria can be costly. As we’ve witnessed in the past few weeks, Listeria outbreaks can lead to delayed production, plant closings, and expensive fines and lawsuits. Fortunately, communicable disease and industrial biohazard cleanup are part of the specialty services offered by Aftermath Services LLC.
Not all janitorial companies are equipped to handle the difficult process of Listeria cleanup, but Aftermath technicians are skilled at handling germs, bacteria, and bloodborne pathogens. Furthermore, they are familiar with policies that apply to local, state, and federal regulations, including Lock-Out Tag-Out procedures and proper use PPE. This is how we help protect our employees, while also protecting your workers and customers. Not every company backs their service with a full customer satisfaction guarantee.
To learn more about biohazard cleaning, visit Aftermath online, or call 877-872-4339. To view a list of the most recent FDA recalls, visit http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/default.htm.