September 18, 2002
FDA AND FSIS ISSUE HEALTH ADVISORY
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Food Safety Inspection
Service (FSIS) are advising the public of a recent increase in cases of
Listeria monocytogenes in Pennsylvania and monitoring for possible increases
in adjacent states. Contaminated food products can cause miscarriages and
stillbirths among pregnant women, serious and sometimes fatal infections in
newborns, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.
Healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever,
severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
The specific food associated with the increased incidence of illness has not
been identified. For this reason, FDA and FSIS are issuing this advisory as
it continues to work closely with CDC and the states to identify the source
of contamination. However, because of the number of cases and serious
illness caused by Listeria monocytogenes, FDA and FSIS are providing the
following information and advice to consumers
People at risk for listeriosis and their family members or individuals
preparing food for them should take the following precautions:
Do not eat hot dogs and luncheon meats, unless they are reheated until
Do not eat soft cheeses such as Feta, Brie and Camembert cheeses,
blue-veined cheeses, and Mexican-style cheeses such as "queso blanco
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, such as salmon,
trout, whitefish, cod, tuna or mackerel, is most often labeled as
"nova-style," "lox," "kippered," "smoked," or "jerky." 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.
Do not drink raw (unpasteurized) milk or eat foods that contain
Consumers experiencing the symptoms described above or concerned with
exposure should contact their physician immediatey.