Wipe Out Listeria

Eating food contaminated with Listeria can make you very sick and for those with an immature or compromised  immune system, it can be fatal.  One very important way to stay healthy is to wipe down your kitchen cooking surfaces and refrigerator regularly.   Use warm soapy water to clean up any spills immediately so that Listeria has less of a chance to grow.   Sanitize your cooking surfaces, refrigerator, chopping boards, microwaves, high chairs, etc. weekly.  You can make your own sanitizing solution by mixing 1 teaspoon unscented bleach with 1 quart of water.  Spray your surfaces and allow to stand for 10 minutes.  Rinse well with clean water.  Dry with clean paper towels and allow to air dry completely.  Make sanitizing solution often as the bleach will lose it's efficacy over time.

 Listeria can grow in cold places as well.  Keep your refrigerator set to 40 degrees F or lower.  Keep your foods covered and make sure that juices from uncooked meats or fruits do not leak onto other items.  Remember to check expiration dates before consuming foods.  When in doubt, throw it out!  Do not eat left overs that are older than 3 days.

Listeria can spread from one surface to another.  That includes your hands, dish towels,  and grocery bags.  Make sure to wash your hands vigorously with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds.  Finally, make sure to rinse all or your fruits and vegetables in running water and use a vegetable brush to scrub them clean.  Even if you plan on peeling the food, wash it just to be sure.

By Linda Ratner RN