An outbreak of listeriosis caused by the enoki fungus…

In the United States, officials from Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have updated their warning against certain enoki mushrooms after receiving confirmation from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from other cases of listeriosis.

This public warning issued on January 18, 2023 follows the FDA’s announcement on January 17, 2023 that stipulates that branded enoki mushrooms Utopian food is the origin of the plague caused by Listeria monocytogenes.

The CDC and FDA have been investigating this outbreak for several months. As of January 18, 2023, the CDC has reported sick people in California, Nevada, and Michigan, with each state having confirmed cases. Epidemic strains have been confirmed in certain mushrooms sold under that brand Utopian food.

All patients must be hospitalized. Two patients reported eating enoki mushrooms before falling ill. The third said he went to a shop that specialized in Asian food.

Reminder on listeriosis

Bacteria Listeria monocytogenes, is found in food, soil, plants, waste and elsewhere in nature. Resistant to cold and can reproduce even in cold temperatures (between +2°C and 4°C) especially in the refrigerator.

People can get listeriosis by eating meat, fish, dairy products, plants or vegetables contaminated with the bacteria. Ingesting contaminated food can cause certain high-risk groups (pregnant women and their fetuses or newborns, people over 65 years of age, and people with weakened immune systems) to develop a serious illness called listeriosis.

After an incubation period ranging from a few days to 2 months (which makes finding the source of contamination difficult), the disease usually results in a more or less high fever with headache and, occasionally, digestive upset (nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, etc.). ). Neurologic complications (meningitis, encephalitis) can occur and are life-threatening.

In certain cases of listeriosis in pregnant women, the infection may go unnoticed or be reduced to flu-like episodes. However, the consequences can be serious for the unborn child: abortions, premature births, forms of septicemia with respiratory distress in the days following birth.

In general, precautions for the prevention of listeriosis in pregnant women, immunocompromised patients and the elderly are as follows:
a) Foods to avoid

  • avoid consumption of soft cheeses made from raw milk;
  • remove cheese rind before consuming;
  • avoid consumption of cheese that is sold grated;
  • avoid consumption of smoked fish;
  • avoid consuming raw sprouted seeds (soy, alfalfa, etc.);
  • avoid consumption of undercooked meat products eaten as is; ex: pâté, rillettes, products in jelly, cooked ham;
  • if purchased, prefer packaged products and consume quickly;
  • avoid consumption of raw meat products eaten as is, cook before consumption, for example: lardoon, bacon, raw ham;
  • avoid consuming products purchased from the catering department;
  • Avoid consuming raw shellfish, surimi, tarama.

b) Hygiene rules that must be observed:

  • cook with care raw food of animal origin (meat, fish); in particular chopped steaks should be cooked thoroughly;
  • wash raw vegetables and aromatic herbs carefully;
  • separate raw foods (meat, vegetables, etc.) from cooked or ready-to-eat foods;
  • after handling raw food, wash hands and clean kitchen utensils that come into contact with the food;
  • frequently clean and then disinfect your fridge with bleach;
  • leftovers and cooked food should be reheated carefully before immediate consumption.

Source: Food Safety News; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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