Preventing Listeriosis - Minnesota Dept. of Health

Preventing Listeriosis

Consumers can prevent Listeria by:

Be especially cautious if you are pregnant or have a weakened immune system.

Recommendations for persons at high risk, such as pregnant women and persons with weakened immune systems:

  • Do not eat hot dogs, luncheon meats, or deli meats, unless they are reheated until steaming hot.
  • Avoid cross-contaminating other foods, utensils, and food preparation surfaces with fluid from hot dog packages, and wash hands after handling hot dogs, luncheon meats, and deli meats.
  • Do not eat soft cheeses such as feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined cheeses, and Mexican-style cheeses such as "queso blanco fresco." Cheeses that may be eaten include hard cheeses; semi-soft cheeses such as mozzarella; pasteurized processed cheese slices and spreads; cream cheese; and cottage cheese.
  • Do not eat refrigerated pâtés or meat spreads. Canned or shelf-stable pâtés and meat spreads may be eaten.
  • Do not eat refrigerated smoked seafood, unless it is contained in a cooked dish, such as a casserole.
    • Refrigerated smoked seafood, is most often labeled as "nova-style," "lox," "kippered," "smoked," or "jerky" such as:
      • salmon
      • trout
      • whitefish
      • cod
      • tuna
      • or mackerel
    • The fish is found in the refrigerator section or sold at deli counters of grocery stores and delicatessens.
    • Canned or shelf-stable smoked seafood may be eaten.

Minimizing Your Risk

Wash your hands

  • Wash hands after using the bathroom and changing diapers, and before handling or eating any food.

  • Make sure that persons with diarrhea, especially children, wash their hands carefully and frequently with soap to reduce the risk of spreading the infection.

  • Always wash hands after contact with farm animals, pets, animal feces, and animal environments.

  • Hand Hygiene
    Wash Your Hands!

Keep your food at the appropriate temperatures

  • Thoroughly cook raw meat and poultry to destroy the bacteria.

  • Defrost food in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave. Food should be stored in a refrigerator that is 40°F or cooler or a freezer that is 0°F or cooler.

Keep your food preparation areas clean

  • Never place cooked meat or poultry on the unwashed plate that held the raw product.

  • Wash raw fruits and vegetables before eating.

  • Keep raw meat and poultry separate from produce and other foods when shopping for and storing groceries.

  • Wash hands, cutting boards, countertops, cutlery, and utensils after touching raw poultry or meat.

Avoid unpasteurized beverages

  • Drink only pasteurized milk, juice, or cider.

  • Avoid foods made from unpasteurized milk.

Be careful when dealing with animals

  • Always wash hands after contact with farm animals, pets, animal feces, and animal environments.


Do you suspect that you have a foodborne illness? Visit reporting suspected foodborne illnesses.


Updated Thursday, April 03, 2014 at 02:49PM