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How to Help Prevent the Spread of Listeria

Advice from our experts

To help reduce the spread of Listeria at home, you can use these practical tips

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1,600 people get listeriosis in the United States each year. The foodborne illness causes uncomfortable symptoms and when contracted by pregnant women, can result in miscarriage, stillbirth and other complications.1

Listeriosis (often called Listeria) is caused by a species of pathogenic bacteria by the name of Listeria monocytogenes and is often caused by eating contaminated food. According to the CDC, the food-borne illness primarily affects pregnant women, newborns, older adults and people with weakened immune systems, and it is rare for people in other groups to get sick with the infection. Symptoms of Listeria range depending on each case and the affected areas. Common indicators for pregnant women include fever and flu-like symptoms, while for others symptoms can include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions in addition to fever and muscle aches.1

Listeria is contracted by digesting contaminated foods, which is why it’s important to ensure that food does not get contaminated on shared surfaces where it may be prepared. To keep hard, nonporous surfaces and materials clean and prevent cross-contamination, use a disinfectant such as Clorox® Regular Bleach2, which disinfects to kill 99.9% of germs and bacteria.

Tips at Home
Keep materials and surfaces clean.2 Prevent cross-contamination in the kitchen where food is being prepared areas by thoroughly washing hands, dishes, cutting boards, and utensils and cleaning and disinfecting counters and surfaces after they touch raw meat.

  • To disinfect kitchen tools and surfaces, use ½ cup of Clorox® Regular Bleach2 in 1 gallon of water and thoroughly wet surface with the solution. After allowing it to remain on the surface for 5 minutes, rinse with clean water and dry.2
  • To sanitize plastic cutting boards, wash or rinse with liquid dishwashing detergent and water. Then soak in a solution using 2 teaspoons of Clorox® Regular Bleach2 per gallon of water. Let stand 2 minutes, then air dry.2

1. https://www.cdc.gov/listeria/index.html
2. Clorox Master Label