Friday, April 10, 2015

What is Listeria ? Why Sabra Recall Hummus?

Listeria Be Aware To Avoid It

Listeria is a genus of bacteria that contains 10 species each containing two subspecies. Named after the English pioneer of sterile surgery Joseph Lister, the genus received its current name in 1940. Listeria species are facultatively anaerobic, non-spore formingbacilli. The major human pathogen in the Listeria genus is L. monocytogenes. It is usually the causative agent of the relatively rare bacterial disease, listeriosis, a serious infection caused by eating food contaminated with the bacteria. The disease affects primarily pregnant women, newborns, adults with weakened immune systems, and the elderly.

Listeriosis is a serious disease for humans; the overt form of the disease has a case-fatality rate of about 20 percent. The two main clinical manifestations are sepsis and meningitis. Meningitis is often complicated by encephalitis, a pathology that is unusual for bacterial infections. Listeria ivanovii is a pathogen of mammals, specifically ruminants, and has rarely caused listeriosis in humans.
 What is Listeriosis?
Listeriosis, a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes
, is an important public health problem in the United States . The disease primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems. However, rarely, people without these risk factors can also be affected. The risk may be reduced by following a few simple recommendations.

What are the Symptoms of Listeriosis?

A person with listeriosis usually has fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. Almost everyone who is diagnosed with listeriosis has "invasive" infection, in which the bacteria spread beyond the gastrointestinal tract. The symptoms vary with the infected person:
  •    Pregnant women: Pregnant women typically experience fever and other non-specific symptoms, such as fatigue and aches. However, infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn.
  • People other than pregnant women: Symptoms can include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions in addition to fever and muscle aches.

Listeriosis can present in different ways. In older adults and people with immunecompromising conditions, septicemia and meningitis are the most common clinical presentations 2. Pregnant women may experience a fever and other non-specific symptoms, such as fatigue and aches, followed by fetal loss or bacteremia and meningitis in their newborns . Immunocompetent people may experience acute febrile gastroenteritis or no symptoms 

Key point 1: Invasive listeriosis is rare but deadly.

·         An estimated 1,600 cases of invasive listeriosis and 260 related deaths occur annually in the United States.
·         An estimated 18% of patients with listeriosis die.
·         Overall, Listeria monocytogenes ranks third as a cause of death due to major known foodborne pathogens in the United States.

Key point 2: Certain well-defined groups are at higher risk for invasive listeriosis.

Higher-risk groups include persons who have compromised cell-mediated immunity:
·         Older adults. In the 2011 outbreak, the median age of patients was 77 years. In fact, the incidence of listeriosis increases steadily with age after about age 50.
·         Patients undergoing transplants or receiving immunosuppressive medications.
·         Persons with other immunocompromising conditions. Well-established conditions that confer risk are AIDS and certain malignancies, especially hematologic. Some studies have found an increased risk with:
o    Liver disease;
o    Kidney disease;
o    Insulin-dependent diabetes; and
o    Alcoholism.
·         Pregnant women. In pregnant women, listeriosis may present as a non-specific, "flu-like illness" or be asymptomatic. The woman does not become seriously ill. However, listeriosis can cause:
o    Fetal loss;
o    Premature labor; and
o    Neonatal sepsis, meningitis, and death.

Key point 3: For higher-risk groups, food preparation, storage habits and food preferences should be considered modifiable risk factors.

·         Unlike most bacterial causes of foodborne illness, Listeria monocytogenes can continue to grow at refrigeration temperatures. This means that storage times are an important consideration for prevention of listeriosis, particularly for foods that are known to favor growth ofListeria. According to a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)/United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) risk assessment, some of the most highrisk foods include soft cheeses, unpasteurized dairy products (including raw milk); deli and lunch meats, cold cuts, hot dogs, pâté, and meat spreads.
·         Only 5% of the cases were pregnancy-associated during the 2011 outbreak. By comparison, almost two-thirds of cases were pregnancy-associated during the next largest listeriosis outbreak, which occurred in 1985 and was associated with Mexican-style cheese. Most of the women with pregnancy-associated listeriosis were Hispanic. Differences in the frequency of pregnancy-associated listeriosis during outbreaks indicate that cultural food preferences can affect risk.


Preventing listeriosis as a food illness requires effective sanitation of food contact surfaces. Alcohol is an effective topical sanitizer against Listeria. Quaternary ammonium can be used in conjunction with alcohol as a food contact safe sanitizer with increased duration of the sanitizing action. Refrigerated foods in the home should be kept below 4 °C (39.2 °F) to discourage bacterial growth. Preventing listeriosis also can be done by carrying out an effective sanitation of food contact surfaces

Listeria in hummus prompts national recall by Sabra

The presence of potential listeria in several samples of hummus has prompted a national recall by Virginia-based Sabra Dipping Co. of 30,000 cases of Classic Hummus.
Inspectors with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development learned of the possible contamination by Listeria monocytogenes after routine inspections March 30 at a Kroger in Port Huron, according to Jennifer Holton, MDARD spokeswoman.
Samples from the prepackaged product were collected for testing, and the results came back days later. Michigan officials alerted inspectors in Virginia and officials with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration who, in turn, are working with Sabra.
The recall is limited to five stock unit, or SKU, numbers of Classic Hummus. No other Sabra product is affected at this time.
U.S. Consumers should discard packages with the following codes, which are located on the top of each package. They can also return them for a refund, Holton said.
Consumers with any questions can call Sabra at 888-957-2272 weekdays.

These are the codes:

040822011143/300067 – Sabra Classic, 10 oz. – 3-059/Best before May 11;
040822011143/300067 – Sabra Classic 10 oz. - 3-060/Best before May 15
040822014687/300074 – Sabra Classic, 30 oz. – 3-059/Best before May 11
040822342049/301216 – Sabra Classic Without Garnish, 32 oz. – 3-059/Best before May 11
040822017497/301290 – Sabra Classic, 17 oz. Six Pack – 3-058/Best before May 11
040822017497/301290 – Sabra Classic, 17 oz. Six Pack – 3-059/Best before May 11
040822342209/301283 – Hummus Dual Pack Classic/Garlic – 3-058/Best before May 11
Contact Robin Erb: or 313-222-2708. Follow her on Twitter@Freephealth.

About the Author

Prejeesh Sreedharan

Author & Editor

I am a Biotechnologist very much interested in #SciTech (Science And Technology). I closely follow the developments in medical science and life science. I am also very enthusiast in the world of electronics, information technology and robotics. I always looks for ways to make complicated things simpler. And I always believes simplest thing is the most complicated ones.


  1. Thanks for sharing, although we have to meet various bacteria,at least currently we know the methods for preventing from listeriosis. Besides, NMR analysis service can be used for structural information of organic compounds and biological macromolecules


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