Hello and welcome once again to the Amerex Blog! Lately we are hearing about more and more alerts related to the food safety of numerous pathogens… Particularly over the past year, a food alert due to the presence of Listeria in sausages from Italy.

Listeria monocytogenes is a pathogenic bacteria that can cause serious illness in humans. In light of this situation, it is essential to be informed about the risks associated with Listeria in products such as fresh sausages and to take the necessary measures to ensure food safety. Therefore, in this blog post we want to share with you how to explore the precautions to be taken into account when consuming sausages and how to protect ourselves from the appearance of Listeria.

How often can we find Listeria-contaminated sausages in the market?

The presence of Listeria in sausages is a major concern in terms of food safety. According to the RASSF (Rapid Alert System Feed and Food), there have already been around 60 food alerts reported this past year due to the presence of Listeria, all of which are serious or potentially of serious risk. Although the cases of contamination may be different, and this is a bacteria that can be present in a wide variety of foods, it is crucial to understand the importance of ensuring the safety of the sausages we consume, as they are far from being free from this risk.

Indeed, it is an issue to be taken into account and it is essential to know the preventive measures and proper procedures to minimize the likelihood of finding Listeria-contaminated sausages in the market. By following the right best practices, storage and cooking practices, we can significantly reduce the risks and enjoy safe and delicious sausages.

What could happen to us if we eat Listeria-contaminated sausages?

The consumption of sausages contaminated with Listeria can have serious consequences for our health. As mentioned above, Listeria monocytogenes is a pathogenic bacteria that can cause the disease known as listeriosis. If we eat contaminated sausages, there is a risk of developing symptoms such as fever, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. In the most severe cases, especially in people with weakened immune systems, pregnant women and the elderly, infection with this pathogen can lead to serious complications and even death.

Person holding the hand of another one lying in a hospital bed

Therefore, we must be aware of the risks associated with the appearance of Listeria in any type of food and take all the necessary measures to avoid its consumption when there are food alerts or suspicions of contamination. Food safety and consumer health must always be a priority.

What are the indicators that sausages are spoiled due to contamination with Listeria or other bacterial species?

It is important to be aware of certain indicators that could point out that the sausages are spoiled and contaminated with Listeria or other bacteria. Some of these signs to watch for are the following:

  • Expiration date: First of all, always check the expiration date printed on the sausage package. If the date has passed or is close, it is possible that the sausages are in poor condition and may present an increased risk of bacterial contamination.
  • Bad smell: Pay attention to the smell of the sausages. If you detect an unpleasant, acidic or ammonia-like odour, this could indicate that the sausages are spoiled and could be contaminated with bacteria such as Listeria.
  • Visual appearance: Look closely at the sausages. If you notice changes in colour, such as unusual spots or discoloration, or if they have mould, this is a clear indicator that the sausages are in poor condition and should be thrown away.
  • Abnormal texture: Fresh sausages should have a firm, elastic texture. If the sausages feel soft, slimy or crumbly to the touch, be alert, this could be a sign of bacterial contamination.

It is important to remember that these indicators are only a guide and not a firm confirmation of the presence of Listeria or other bacteria. However, if there is any doubt of contamination, it is always recommended not to eat the sausages in order to avoid possible health risks.

What actions can we take in our homes to avoid the proliferation of Listeria or other pathogens?

It is key in order to protect ourselves from pathogen and bacterial contamination that we follow some of the most basic preventive practices in our own homes. Some actions to take are as follows:

  • Proper storage: Store sausages in the refrigerator at a safe temperature, generally below 4°C. Make sure they are properly wrapped or in sealed containers to avoid cross-contamination with other foods.
  • Hygienic handling: Wash your hands with soap and water before and after handling sausages. This will help prevent the transfer of bacteria to the food.
  • Avoid cross-contamination: Keep raw sausages separated from other foods, especially those that will be consumed without additional cooking, such as salads or sauces. Use different utensils and cutting boards for raw and cooked foods.
  • Appropriate cooking: Be sure to cook sausages thoroughly, until they reach a safe internal temperature of at least 75°C. Using a cooking thermometer can be helpful to check the internal temperature.
  • Prompt consumption: Eat the sausages within their recommended expiration date. Avoid leaving them out of the refrigerator for extended periods of time and do not let them be kept at room temperature for too long.

These preventive actions are essential to reduce the risk of contamination by Listeria or other pathogens in the sausages we consume at home. By following these practices, we minimize the risks to the health of both ourselves and our family and can enjoy safer meals.

How is the Food Industry concerned about preventing Listeria contamination and working to avoid its appearance in the different foods we consume?

The Food Industry plays a key role in preventing Listeria contamination and works actively to avoid its presence in different foods, including sausages. The industry implements measures to guarantee food safety such as good hygienic practices at all stages of manufacturing, quality controls and risk analysis to identify possible sources of contamination, development of traceability programs, investment in advanced processing technology (e.g. pasteurization systems in the case of sausages) and compliance with regulations and standards established by health authorities and control bodies.

Food handlers with fresh sausages

In addition to the use of food additives or preservatives that inhibit the growth of these bacteria, which is used by manufacturers in all food sectors. This is demonstrated by the numerous companies that ask us about natural alternatives within the Amerex portfolio to address this problem. For example, our range of natural preservatives includes a clean label blend, Biamex Export, which is a specialist against Listeria. In addition to other products that have direct action against pathogenic microorganisms, helping to keep food in better condition and last longer.

We hope that this Blog entry has made you more aware of these food alerts and the care in food handling. Remember that food safety is everyone’s responsibility, and it is essential to follow the recommendations of health authorities and be informed about current food alerts.

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