There are a few simple ways to protect yourself and your family from getting the food poisoning bug, Listeria:
1. Keep clean. Make sure your kitchen, fridge and any food utensils are thoroughly cleaned after use.
2. Wash your hands before and after food preparation and after going to the bathroom.
3. Make sure meat is cooked all the way through. Undercooked meat is a major cause of food poisoning. If cooking eggs, hard boil them. Runny yolk is more likely to cause infection.
4. If you are pregnant or you have a weakened immune system, don’t eat soft cheeses and ‘junk food’ meats like hotdogs and cold deli meats. Avoid smoked seafood unless it is canned. Don’t give these foods to a baby or small child.
5. There is lots of evidence that probiotics (friendly bacteria) can help prevent infections. Now, research scientists are suggesting that prebiotics may help too. Prebiotics are carbohydrates found in food. A research team from Finland wrote,
"Evidence has accumulated suggesting that specific bacteria in the intestine exert a multiplicity of inhibitory effects against pathogenic infections. The microbiota creates a physical and chemical barrier against pathogens e.g. by lowering the pH in the intestine, producing bacteriocins, modulating the immune system and by competing for nutrients and adhesions sites in the intestine. Prebiotics, typically carbohydrates, escape digestion in the small intestine and undergo bacterial fermentation in the colon, and thereby stimulate the growth of the gut microbiota.
"At present, four different prebiotics have been tested. Xylooligosaccharides (XOS) and galactooligosaccharides (GOS) have showed to increase resistance of guinea pigs to intestinal L. monocytogenes infections."
So if you eat plenty of carbohydrates (such as pasta, beans, rice and potatoes) and also have yogurt or a daily dose of probiotic drink, this may be enough to prevent you from getting listeria.