Understanding The Deadly Food-Borne Illness Listerosis

One of the concerns that food manufacturers have is that their products may contain harmful bacteria. When a business has a food scare, this can lead to a company's worst nightmare: customers who may become sick or even pass away after consuming a food product. One widespread and dangerous bacteria sometimes present in food products is listeria.

Risks Associated with Listeria

Listeria can lead to listeriosis. This is a serious bacterial infection that can be fatal in 20-30% of cases. Pregnant women and those who have a weakened immune system are particularly susceptible to listeria. For a pregnant woman, listeriosis causes mild symptoms. However, it can be very dangerous to the unborn child. 

With severe infections, listeria can potentially affect the brain. Otherwise, it is most likely to infect the bloodstream. Those who are infected will likely experience a fever as the body attempts to purge the illness. They will also likely suffer from diarrhea. The symptoms can also emerge weeks after ingesting the contaminated food. Therefore, it can be difficult to know what the cause of the illness is.

When to See a Doctor

If you have consumed food that might be contaminated with listeria, you should see a doctor as soon as possible if you have any symptoms within a few months of having ingested contaminated food. However, if you do not experience any symptoms, most experts argue that seeing a doctor is not necessary.

Testing for Listeria with an Enrichment Broth

Fortunately, UVM modified listeria can be used to test a food product to determine if it has been contaminated by listeria. The specimen needs to be placed in a sterile container or collected with a sterile swab. The sample then needs to be transported immediately to the testing location. 

The clinical specimen taken from the non-sterile site is enriched for the listeria species before it is plated. The official USDA method requires that the specimen be enriched by the UVM modified listeria enrichment broth and kept at 30 degrees Celcius. Part of the enrichment mixture is added to the enrichment broth. You will then want to have the sample set for testing.

The UVM modified listeria enrichment broth is a partially selective medium. The growth of contaminating organism strains will be inhibited partially, but not totally. However, despite these limitations, the broth is an important part of keeping food products, from pasteurized milk to pickled pork tongue, safe for consumption.

For more information about UVM modified listeria enrichment, contact a company like Culture Media Concepts.