Listeriosis is an infection caused by eating food contaminated with the germ listeria monocytogenes. Listeria outbreak has caused a number of recalls to be made by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Recently, it announced an expansion of a voluntary recall made by County Fresh, which covered a number of its pre-cut products due to listeria concerns.

In a news release by the FDA, the scope of the voluntary recall included pre-cut watermelon, apples, mangoes, grapes, pineapples, and also cantaloupe. The fruits were distributed by Walmart.

The statement of FDA noted that the recall was a precautionary measure as there might be a possible health risk after a routine inspection led to the discovery of listeria monocytogenes on the equipment where the products are being packed.

The fruits were shipped initially to the Walmart distribution centre before they were sent to different Walmart stores. Some of the stores are located in Illinois, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Texas. The dates to be noted on the recalled products have "best by" Oct. 3 and Oct. 11.

The FDA said that Walmart made efforts to immediately remove the products from the shelves. They also advised customers who were able to purchase the recalled products not to consume them.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that listeriosis is a serious infection and can cause diarrhea and fever, symptoms which are similar to other contaminated food-borne illnesses. Pregnant women are at risk as a listeriosis infection that occurs during pregnancy could lead to stillbirth, miscarriage, premature delivery, and even a life-threatening infection of the newborn. Others who get infected, particularly those who are not pregnant, experience stiff neck, confusion, headaches, convulsion, loss of balance, and muscle aches.

Normally, those who are infected with listeriosis would see symptoms from one to four weeks after ingesting contaminated food. There are others though who would start experiencing symptoms 70 days after they are exposed.

Cut Watermelon
Cut fresh fruits Photo: Pixabay

Treatment for listeriosis is done through bacterial culture, which is carried out in the laboratory. Samples for testing can be taken from body tissue, blood, fluid, or spinal fluid. Doctors often prescribe antibiotics to treat listeria infection.