Listeria recall October 2017
By now you may have heard about the recent listeria outbreak that triggered the recall of veggies across America and Canada. The real affects produce at multiple supermarkets like Walmart, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Albertson’s, and Safeway.
The FDA announced on October 19, 2017, “Mann Packing of Salinas, California is voluntarily recalling minimally processed vegetable products listed below because they may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. …. Mann Packing is issuing this recall out of an abundance of caution.”
According to the CDC, an estimated 1,600 people get listeriosis each year, and about 260 die. The infection is most likely to sicken pregnant women and their newborns, adults aged 65 or older, and people with weakened immune systems.
More importantly, the CDC claims pregnant women are 10 times more likely than other people to get Listeria infection. Pregnant women with a Listeria infection can pass the infection to their unborn babies.
Preventing listeria illness
So needless to say, as a 26 week pregnant soon to be mom my goal is to NOT get listeria infection. I would safely assume your goal, pregnant or not is to avoid a listeria infection also.
Some of the general recommendations from the CDC to prevent listeria infection are as follows:
- Cook thoroughly raw food from animal sources, such as beef, pork, or poultry.
- Keep uncooked meats separate from vegetables and from cooked foods and ready-to-eat foods.
- Avoid raw (unpasteurized) milk or foods made from raw milk.
- Wash raw vegetables thoroughly before eating.
Throughly washing produce
Wash raw vegetables thoroughly before eating?!?! How many of ACTUALLY throughly clean our raw fruits and vegetables?
Rinsing our fruits and veggies under the water and wiping with a towel simply isn’t enough. Washing your produce properly removes dirt, waxes, pesticides, bacteria, and E. coli, Salmonella, hepatitis A or Listeria.In our home we choose organic produce, even while on a budget. We choose organic in an effort to reduce our toxin and GMO exposure. Though we are consuming organic produce, it is still important to thoroughly wash produce as it could be exposed to bacteria or food borne illnesses on it’s journey from farm to table.
Make your own natural, non-toxic produce wash
I wanted to share with you my DIY, non-toxic produce wash we now use in our home.
3 cups water
Juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
1 glass vinegar bottle or bottle with a lid
Combine all of the ingredients in the glass bottle using a funnel and shake. Store the produce wash in the refrigerator. When you are ready to use, simply shake the bottle and pour over your produce to wash and rinse.
You can also put your produce wash in a spray bottle and store it in the refrigerator. Spray on your produce, rinse, and towel/air dry.
It is that simple to remove lingering bacteria and pesky pesticides.
Avoiding listeria during pregnancy
While we are on the topic of listeria and pregnancy, I wanted to share some of the recommendations from the FDA for preventing listeria infections in women who are pregnant or have a weakened immune system.
- Avoid soft cheeses such as feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined, and Mexican-style cheese. (Hard cheeses, processed cheeses, cream cheese, cottage cheese, or yogurt need not be avoided.)
- Cook until steaming hot left-over foods or ready-to-eat foods, such as hot dogs, before eating.
- Although the risk of listeriosis associated with foods from deli counters is relatively low, pregnant women and immunosuppressed persons may choose to avoid these foods or thoroughly reheat cold cuts before eating.
I hope you found this post helpful and I hope you start incorporating a produce wash in your daily or weekly meal preparation. This simple step can reduce the risk of contamination of food borne illnesses and the consumption of pesticides.
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