What is the hysteria with Listeria?

  • Warriner K
  • Namvar A
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Abstract

The 2008 listeriosis outbreak across Canada caused 53 confirmed cases, 6 suspected, with 20 deaths and generated a wave of hysteria in the popular media. The outbreak had far reaching consequences and brought into question the effectiveness of current regulations to reduce the risk of foodborne listeriosis. The following is a brief review on the characteristics of Listeria monocytogenes and food safety issues surrounding the virulent pathogen. A comparison will be made with the Zero-Tolerance approach of the US vs. the risk-based policy operated in Canada, Europe, New Zealand and Australia. Attempts to harmonize Listeria policy will be discussed, in addition to a brief review on risk communication approaches to inform susceptible groups on how to avoid listeriosis. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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