Is Listeria Actually On The Rise Or Does It Just Seem That Way?

April 12, 2015 4:34 PM

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Last week, Sabra recalled 30,000 cases of its Classic Hummus for possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination, and Blue Bell recalled more varieties of its ice cream products. Before that, it was spinach, sprouts, and caramel apples. Though no illnesses have yet been linked to Sabra products (the contamination was found during a random inspection of the product), five illnesses and three deaths have been linked to the Blue Bell contamination, which may date back to 2011. From the consumer’s vantage point, it seems like Listeria contamination in major food brands is on the rise these days. Are the outbreaks actually increasing, or are we just more aware of them? That may not be such an easy question to answer at this juncture, but safety measures in food manufacture will surely be intensified as a result.

“According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC), there have been eight outbreaks of Listeria since 2011. Five of these outbreaks have occurred since 2014,” says Dr. Ari Grinspan, gastroenterologist at The Mount Sinai Hospital. So it does seem like there’s been a bump in recent months. “But the lar...

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