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Listeria in meat products: what are the risks?

  1. Meat products are susceptible to contamination with bacteria such as listeria. Vulnerable groups such as pregnant women and the elderly are at extra risk. It is therefore important to handle meat products safely. For example, do not eat processed meats made from raw meat. This way you keep the risk of contamination with listeria as small as possible.

  1. Below you can read the most important questions and answers about the risks of listeria in meat products:

What are the risks of the listeria bacteria?

  1. Listeria is a bacterium that can cause foodborne infections. The risk of infection with listeria is small, but the consequences can be serious. Pregnant women in particular should be careful, as it can lead to miscarriage or premature birth in that group. But also the elderly, newborn babies and people with less resistance due to illness or the use of medicines are extra sensitive.

Is it dangerous for everyone?

  1. In healthy people with a normal immune system, the disease can progress without symptoms, or with mild flu-like symptoms. But these risk groups are especially sensitive: Elderly Pregnant and therefore the unborn child Newborn babies People with less immune system, for example because of cancer treatment, when they also have other diseases such as diabetes or AIDS, because of drinking a lot of alcohol or because of old age. For this group it is extra important to: Safe to handle meat products. Do not eat meats made from raw meat, such as steak tartare, beef sausage, tea sausage or carpaccio. This also applies to raw smoked or dried meat products such as raw ham, salami or cervelate.

What to do if you have eaten meats with listeria?

  1. If you have eaten a product that (perhaps) contained the bacteria listeria, know that the chance of serious consequences is very small. However, it is good to watch out for certain symptoms.

What are the symptoms that you may have eaten something with listeria?

  1. The symptoms of infection with listeria can manifest themselves up to 90 days after consumption. Sometimes the complaints are mild, such as mild flu symptoms. But it can also cause a high fever, headache, muscle pain, diarrhea and nausea. For some people, the bacteria can be more dangerous and they become worse ill, such as inflammation of the brain, blood poisoning, and miscarriage in pregnant women.

When to see the doctor?

  1. In addition to diarrhea, do you also have a fever, or blood and mucus in your stool? Then go to the doctor. Also do this if you have a severe fever and vomit a lot or are in danger of dehydration. You have dehydration symptoms when you have to urinate little, are very thirsty and feel drowsy. It is especially important for the elderly, young children, pregnant women and the sick to go to the doctor on time. Find out more about what to do if you've eaten something with listeria.

Is listeria disease common?

  1. About 70 to 100 cases of listeria infestation are known annually. This is not much, but the consequences can be serious.

How can I eat meat products safely?

  1. Meat products is a product that is sensitive to contamination by bacteria such as listeria. You can often keep it for a long time and it is eaten without heating. Our advice: Always store meat products in the refrigerator at 4 ° C (listeria grows much less quickly at 4 ° C than at 7 ° C) Quickly put meat products back in the refrigerator after use. Eat meat products within 4 days after opening.

Is there legislation for listeria?

  1. Yes, there is European legislation (Regulation 2073/2005) that deals with listeria in food. Baby food or infant formula should not contain any listeria at all. In other foods it must be less than 100 units / g. Companies that produce foodstuffs that are sensitive to the outgrowth of listeria are obliged to perform analyzes on this. Tests must also be carried out so that listeria cannot grow beyond the legal limit within the expiration date. The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) supervises compliance with this law.

  2. Yes, there is European legislation (Regulation 2073/2005) that deals with listeria in food. Baby food or infant formula should not contain any listeria at all. In other foods it must be less than 100 units / g. Companies that produce foodstuffs that are sensitive to the outgrowth of listeria are obliged to perform analyzes on this. There must also be tests



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