Listeria monocytogenes (Listeria) is a foodborne disease-causing bacteria; the disease is called listeriosis. Listeria can invade the body through a normal and intact gastrointestinal tract. Once in the body, Listeria can travel through the blood stream but the bacteria are often found inside cells. Listeria also produces toxins that damage cells. Listeria invades and grows best in the central nervous system among immune compromised persons, causing meningitis and/or encephalitis (brain infection). In pregnant women, the fetus can become infected, leading to spontaneous abortion, stillbirths, or sepsis (blood infection) in infancy.

Approximately 2,500 cases of listeriosis are estimated to occur in the U.S. each year. About 200 in every 1000 cases result in death. Certain groups of individuals are at greater risk for listeriosis, including pregnant women (and their unborn children) and immunocompromised persons. Among infants, listeriosis occurs when the infection is transmitted from the mother, either through the placenta or during the birthing process. These host factors, along with the amount of bacteria ingested and the virulence of the strain, determine the risk of disease. Human cases of listeriosis are, for the most part, sporadic and treatable. Nonetheless, Listeria remains an important threat to public health, especially among those most susceptible to this disease.

Company recalls Langostinos after possible Listeria contamination

A Boston seafood company has issued a voluntary recall of its cooked langostinos because of possible listeria contamination. The recalled "Icybay Cooked Langostinos" from Slade Gorton & Company were sold in one pound packages to retailers in Massachusetts and Maryland and in five pound packages to wholesalers in 19 states.

Agriculture officials issue raw milk warning

Raw milk bought from Fisher’s Dairy farm in Portersville in Butler County should be discarded immediately because it might be contaminated, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture said today. The dairy was selling the milk without a permit and state inspectors found that it tested positive for listeria monocytogenes, a bacteria that can be deadly, agriculture secretary Dennis Wolff said.

Frozen chicken meals shipped to California recalled for Listeria

Inovata Foods, an Edmonton, Alberta firm, is voluntarily recalling approximately 3,780 pounds of frozen chicken entrées that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced. The following product is subject to recall: 12-ounce packages of “Discover Cuisine ™ Red Curry Chicken & Jasmine Rice. Each package bears the Canadian establishment number “Est. 302” inside the Canadian Food Inspection Agency mark of inspection as well as a “Best By” date of “12 18 08.”