This chapter reviews issues related to the occurrence and growth of Listeria monocytogenes in food processing and food service environments. L. monocytogenes is a food-borne pathogen with the capacity to contaminate raw or minimally processed foods such as chilled ready-to-eat (RTE) foods. The consumption of food contaminated with L. monocytogenes can result in a disease known as listeriosis among vulnerable groups of people such as pregnant women and fetuses, newborns, adults between the ages of 65 and 75, and people with weakened immune systems. L. monocytogenes is ubiquitous and has been isolated from soil, vegetation, sewage, water, animal feed, fresh and frozen meat including poultry, slaughterhouse wastes and the feces of healthy animals and humans. The bacterium is both acid tolerant and salt tolerant. It is able to grow at refrigerator temperature, and is therefore often associated with the consumption of raw or minimally processed and often chilled RTE foods. L. monocytogenes is able to form biofilms on food processing and preparation surfaces, which protects it from antimicrobial action. Continuous education of vulnerable groups regarding food safety will increase their awareness of the importance of practicing safer food handling practices such as hand washing and safe storage of RTE foods as a means to prevent listeriosis.
Part of the book: Listeria Monocytogenes