How To Protect Yourself Against Listeria Outbreak

How To Protect Yourself Against Listeria Outbreak

The listeria outbreak is causing a huge scare, but there are things that you can do to keep you and your family safe from the deadly listeria bacteria.   

Chef Grace Choi teaches food safety at New York University.

"You have to do a very, very good job of scrubbing [your cantaloupe]. You really only need cool water, don't use soap or detergent. Make sure your hands are cleaned, and I like to use a vegetable scrub to get into the pores. If you're not washing the outside of your melon, the knife cuts right into the bacteria sitting in the rind, and it transfers right through the middle," said Choi.

The tainted cantaloupes come from a single source in Colorado, Jensen Farms. They shipped an estimated 300,000 cases of cantaloupes to supermarkets in 17 states.

You need to get rid of any cantaloupes immediately if they're marked with a sticker that says "Jensen Farms-Sweet Rocky Fords," or a sticker that says, "Product of USA Frontera Produce Colorado Fresh Rocky Ford Cantaloupe".   

If they don't have stickers ask your grocer where they get their cantaloupes.

Still unsure? The Center for Disease Control says throw them out just to be safe.

"If you had cantaloupe in your refrigerator, and you're concerned about it? You can always take all the food out of your fridge, and then wipe it down with bleach, then put the food back in," said Choi.

There's one other tip that you should follow even if your cantaloupe isn't from Jensen Farms.

"Prior to cutting the fruits and vegetables, I disinfected my countertop with bleach. Just to make sure as an added precaution," said Choi.

Listeria is deadlier than salmonella and E. coli, and symptoms may not show up for several weeks. For more information on symptoms of listeria and what you need to know go to http://www.cdc.gov/listeria/outbreaks/index.html