The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently published an informational piece on a specific foodborne illness, Listeriosis, and how to prevent certain foodborne risks during your pregnancy.
Listeria monocytogenes is a harmful bacterium that can be found in refrigerated, ready-to-eat foods (meat, poultry, seafood, and dairy – unpasteurized milk and milk products or foods made with unpasteurized milk), and produce harvested from soil contaminated with L. monocytogenes. Many animals can carry this bacterium without appearing ill, and thus, it can be found in foods made from animals. L. monocytogenes is unusual because it can grow at refrigerator temperatures where most other foodborne bacteria do not. When eaten, it may cause listeriosis, an illness to which pregnant women and their unborn children are very susceptible.
Studies show that pregnant Hispanic women may have a higher incidence of listeriosis than pregnant non-Hispanic women. This is most likely because they might make and eat homemade soft cheese and other traditional foods made from unpasteurized milk. “Queso fresco”- a traditional homemade cheese, prepared from unpasteurized milk and widely consumed by Hispanics – has led to miscarriages, death of newborns, and premature delivery caused by L. monocytogenes.
To prevent the risk of listeriosis, Hispanic pregnant women should not eat homemade soft cheeses and other traditional foods made from unpasteurized milk.
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