The Listeria outbreak is caused by a strain of Listera know as ST6 and is a life threatening bacterial infection that stems from soil and water and contaminates the animals that feed and drink that on the contaminated land. We, then eat and or consume the animal or by-products of them and in turn become ill ourselves. What is concerning is that the animal with Listeriosis does not show any signs of illness or that it is carrying a very serious infection so there are no red flag warning or tell tale signs of knowing until it is too late for many people who have lost their lives, because of Listeriosis.
Vegetables become contaminated with the infection from animals’ manure that that is used on crops to act as a fertilizer or from the soil infected. From there Listeria finds its way into processing, factories or veggie warehouses and, as Listeria multiplies happily in cold temperatures of refrigerators and or freezers any food processing or preparing plant can do nothing much to stop its spread. Dairy farms and factories are not exempt from this at all as many listeria linked foods are from contaminated unprocessed milks and unpasteurized soft cheeses.
Three years ago I did a talk about infections in meats and dairy not only for the dire end result for the consumer but for the retailers and manufacturers too and that, although we are all up in arms about the negatives we needed to be realistic and understand that many middle class and below income earners who need protein for the day or week or month who is feeding not themselves, but families too needed certain processed meats, dairies and or vegetables and that although it is easy to point fingers to cheaper qualities of the above and say Listeriosis for example comes from the cheaper product, we now know that the top retailers have had to empty shelves due to the outbreak. So illnesses, infections, viruses, etcetera has no bracket. It affects us all. At the same time as all the fuss focused on processes meats – I must admit not my favourite or healthy kind of animal by-product – in all fairness there seems to be a health factor at the processing plant factory that could have allowed the multiplication and spread of Listeriosis inside the confines of the factory that points to such a huge damaging recall on all the processed meats. Processed meats are not the sole choice for Listeriosis, but rather that the meat processing plant had favorable conditions for the infection to multiply and spread.
As my common thread to Listeriosis is nutrition and fertility we need to be made aware of the serious and even deadly affects it can have on specific group of people namely pregnant women among other that include children, persons with depressed immune systems or who carry various chronic illnesses and the elderly, in all of this is the negative results Listeriosis brings to especially pregnant women is miscarriage, still birth and pre-pregnancy fertility issues not noticed before such as abnormal bleeds. With male fertility in mind there was studies that showed men who ate large amounts of unpasteurized cheese could show lower sperm count and, as unpasteurized cheeses are large carriers of Listeriosis the spread of the infection as well as its negative effects on both male and female fertility are very prominent.
There are many debates on how we stop Listeriosis by mention of do we stop eating processed meats, certain vegetables and dairy because we are at risk of being infected? Does Listeria live in organic farm lands soil and or only chemically treated crops soil? Is Listeria new?
There are yes and no answers, but none in concrete so all I will conclude on this matter is that there will always be a newly morphed virus, infection, illness of some sort to pay us a visit and all we should do is educate ourselves as to how it manifested, how we can learn from it, how to learn to eat properly and how we can save the land we live from by changing our lifestyles and mind sets as far as possible. A small example is eating animal free two or three days a week. Listeriosis aside, there are billions of us on this planet. Think if we all did just that, what a difference we could make not only on the animal content we eat mindlessly day in and day out, but also the carbon foot print we force by doing so.
By Elenia Kolokotronis