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New Weapon Against Listeria

Chemical treatment may help kill bacteria found in cooked food products

THURSDAY, Jan. 23, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- A new kind of chemical treatment may help kill Listeria monocytogenes and make it safer for you to eat lunch meats, hot dogs, smoked fish and some kinds of soft cheeses.

Texas A&M University researchers say a new product called acidified calcium sulfate shows promise in decontaminating the surface of cooked food products. They say it not only kills Listeria that may be present on food; it also prevents the bacteria from coming back.

They tested it on frankfurters that contained high levels of Listeria.

The product could offer meat processors another way to increase the safety of their products, and several want to test acidified calcium sulfate on their own products.

Listeria can grow at refrigerator temperatures and is considered a serious health threat. It doesn't affect many people, but it can be deadly. It can cause flu-like symptoms, meningitis, spontaneous abortions and prenatal septicemia. About 20 percent of listeriosis cases are fatal.

Processed food products can be contaminated by Listeria that comes from the environment or from employees in meat-processing plants.

More information

Here's where to learn more about Listeria.

SOURCE: Texas A&M University, news release, January 2003
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