A great article was written today by Rong-Gong Lin II, LA Times Staff Writer.  Ron, has written extensively on foodborne illnesses.

Official warns pregnant women and those with weakened immunity to avoid certain foods.

Seventeen people in Los Angeles County have contracted the bacterial food-borne illness listeriosis, including two pregnant women who had stillbirths, health officials said Tuesday.

It is important to remind pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems — such as people with cancer, diabetes or AIDS — to avoid certain foods known to be at risk for contamination from the bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes.  Those foods include the following:

• Deli meat or hot dogs that have not been reheated until steaming hot;

• Refrigerated pates or meat spreads;

• Refrigerated smoked seafood, such as those labeled nova-style, lox, kippered, smoked or jerky, unless it is cooked, such as in a casserole;

• Soft cheeses, such as feta, brie and Camembert; blue-veined cheeses; or Mexican-style cheeses such as queso blanco, queso fresco and Panela, unless labeled as being made from pasteurized milk.

In eight of the 17 cases, those infected reported eating at-risk foods. Four of the pregnant women who were sickened had eaten soft or Mexican-style cheeses.