Because of the deaths in European countries linked to the Listeria bacteria, transmitted from frozen foods last week, measures have been taken in all European countries on the recommendations of the European Food Safety Authority. 

The Ministry of Health in the TRNC is taking the necessary precautions in accordance with the recommendations of the European Union Food Safety Authority.

Listeria monocytogenes is one of the most important food borne pathogens causing disease in humans and animals. It can be found in many areas such as water, soil, milk, and human and animal feces. It is an important pathogen in terms of public health that can protect its vitality even under adverse conditions such as cooling, freezing, heating and drying processes that can be produced even in the refrigerator.

Contaminated food intake and low amounts of listeria monocytogenes may lead to a disease called Listeriosis in infants, elderly, pregnant, drug or poor  immunity compromised persons, while not causing any clinical symptoms in healthy adults. Severe conditions such as meningitis can occur after days and weeks, with fever, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, fatigue, headache and vomiting occurring 12 hours after consuming  contaminated food.

The spread of Listeria around an infected animal shows a cycle of contamination of soil and plants, and then again to meat and milk. Then there is the transition to people from contaminated vegetables, fruit, milk and meat. If the food is contaminated with listeria, the bacteria will die if cooked at a temperature of 75° C.

During the stages of food production, distribution and conservation to prevent listeriosis; good production practices, hygiene practices, temperature control in food production is important. 

When shopping for frozen vegetables, care should be taken not to break the cold chain ring from the grocery store to the house. Care must be taken to ensure that frozen vegetables are not allowed to thaw. These products must not be consumed raw and should be thoroughly cooked.  Especially maize should not be used raw and in salads. 

After food is processed in raw food production, for example salads, without washing hands or changing gloves. the ready-to-eat food should not be processed. Work surfaces and used utensils should be cleaned and disinfected.  Apart from this, the cutting boards must be cleaned between each use, gloves should be changed frequently and hands should be washed thoroughly. 

Source: TRNC Ministry of Health