Listeria

Are you suffering from Listeriosis?

If you or a loved one suffered from Listeriosis after eating food contaminated with Listeria, you may have a Listeria lawsuit against the manufacturer or processor of the product. Listeria is a vicious bacteria that can ravage the human body and at times can be fatal. The illness caused by Listeria, Listeriosis, is most commonly caused by eating contaminated food. Contact the Minnesota Listeria Attorneys at GoldenbergLaw today for a free Listeria lawsuit consultation.

Do I Have a Potential Listeria Lawsuit?

Listeria bacteria is difficult to remove from food processing factories, but it’s especially difficult if the factory’s cleaning procedures are deficient. Floors, drains, conveyor belts, slicers, and tables are commonly contaminated and the biofilms left by Listeria bacteria are very challenging to remove due to how tough the bacteria is. If a factory has insufficient equipment cleaning standards or lack of hygienic zoning, the Listeria bacteria can continually contaminate the food produced at the factory for years.

If you or a loved one developed Listeriosis, it’s important to seek medical care and get tested for Listeria bacteria. This diagnosis is important to establishing that Listeria bacteria made you sick. Preserve as much of the evidence as you can safely.

The Minnesota Listeria Attorneys at GoldenbergLaw understand the complexities of Listeria lawsuits. We understand how dangerous the bacteria is and how you need help if you were injured by it. Although it is very important to obtain a Listeria diagnosis if at all possible, our firm’s expertise in identifying Listeriosis symptoms has allowed us to resolve cases successfully without a Listeria diagnosis.

What is Listeria?

Listeria monocytogenes (also known as Listeria) is a type of bacteria that can be found in nature, especially in moist environments, soil, water, and decaying vegetation. Listeria is also found in animals, especially cattle. Listeria has been found in at least 42 species of wild and domesticated animals, and in 17 species of birds. Listeria is a very robust bacteria that can survive in environments that usually kill other types of bacteria. For instance, Listeria can thrive and reproduce in temperatures as low as zero degrees Celsius.

Why is Listeria Dangerous?

The bacteria Listeria monocytogenes, commonly known as Listeria, can cause the infection Listeriosis. Listeria is usually transmitted to humans through contaminated food. Foods that are commonly contaminated with Listeria include:
  • Queso fresco and other soft cheeses

  • Raw (unpasteurized) milk

  • Raw sprouts

  • Fruits and vegetables, especially melons

  • Hot dogs, pâtés, lunch meats, cold cuts

  • Smoked fish

The Listeria bacteria is especially dangerous because it can survive and even multiply in low temperatures that usually kill most other types of bacteria. Additionally, Listeria contamination does not alter the smell, taste, or texture of the food and so it can be hard to detect if a food is contaminated.

Listeriosis has a mortality rate of 20-30%. Over 90% of people with Listeriosis are hospitalized and often end up in intensive care units (ICUs). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that approximately 1600 people contract Listeriosis every year and 260 of those people die.

There are two main types of Listeriosis: the non-invasive form and the invasive form. The non-invasive form of Listeriosis is usually accompanied by mild symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, headache, and muscle aches. The incubation period is relatively short and so, if a person is going to develop symptoms at all, they usually appear within a couple of days after eating the contaminated food. However, the invasive form of Listeriosis is more severe and frequently causes severe complications discussed below in at-risk groups. At-risk groups include pregnant women, patients with weakened immune systems, elderly people, and infants. Although infected pregnant women may experience only mild flu-like symptoms, their infections can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn, or even stillbirth.

If you or a loved one developed Listeriosis after eating food contaminated with Listeria, contact the Minnesota Listeria Attorneys today. Our team has more than 35 years of experience helping our clients get justice. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.

How Listeria Contaminates Food

Listeria bacteria is commonly found in soil and water. If animals are exposed to the bacteria, it can infect the meat and dairy products they produce. Fruits and vegetables can become contaminated due to the soil they are grown in or if manure from a contaminated animal is used as a fertilizer.

Listeria bacteria is usually killed by the pasteurization process or cooking. However, if a food is not pasteurized or is not fully cooked, it has a risk of being contaminated with the dangerous bacteria. This is especially concerning for ready-to-eat foods such as hot dogs, luncheon meats, cold cuts, fermented or dry sausages, and other deli-style meats and poultry. If these foods are not heated prior to serving, the Listeria bacteria can infect the people who eat the food. Most bacterias are killed by refrigeration; however, Listeria bacteria actually multiply at cool temperatures. If there is even one food in your refrigerator contaminated with Listeria, spillage from that food can infect the other items in your refrigerator.

Listeria bacteria can also enter processing facilities and live there for years contaminating the food. The bacteria can form biofilms on equipment, utensils, floors, drains, and many other areas in food processing plants and is difficult to remove because it can survive highly salty conditions and low temperatures. Listeria bacteria commonly enters food processing factories through employees’ clothing, gloves, boots, or their skin coming into contact with the product, improperly cleaned and sanitized equipment, or other environmental elements such as aerosol moisture in the area contaminating work areas throughout the factory.

How Does Listeria Attack Your Body?

When people eat food contaminated with Listeria bacteria, they may develop the illness Listeriosis. Listeria is usually transmitted when food is harvested, processed, prepared, packed, transported, or stored in environments that contain the bacteria.

Listeria enters the body through contaminated food and settles in the intestines first. After an initial landing in the intestines, the bacteria infects the liver. In the liver, the bacteria multiply until– in most cases– the body’s immune system removes the bacteria. Most individuals who develop Listeriosis do not develop symptoms because the body naturally flushes out the bacteria with the body’s waste.

The incubation period for Listeriosis varies widely. Although Listeriosis can develop only days after eating contaminated food, it usually takes approximately 11 to 70 days for symptoms to develop.

Initial symptoms of mild Listeriosis usually last only 1 to 3 days and include:
  • Muscle aches

  • Fever

  • Flu-like symptoms

  • Nausea

  • Diarrhea

However, in at-risk individuals, the bacteria may continue to spread throughout the body and cause serious complications. Listeria can enter and survive within immune cells such as macrophages. This allows the bacteria to hijack the cells and trick other cells into drawing the dangerous bacteria inside. Once the bacteria is within the cells, the bacteria can multiply and spread. The bacteria’s ability to live within human cells makes it very dangerous and difficult to treat.

If Listeriosis worsens and moves into the nervous systems, symptoms may include:
  • Headache

  • Confusion

  • Stiff neck

  • Tremors and convulsions

  • Loss of balance

Listeriosis can also lead to serious and potentially fatal complications:
  • Septicemia (a serious blood infection that can cause death)

  • Meningitis (inflammation of membranes around the brain)

  • Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain)

  • Meningoencephalitis (a combination of meningitis and encephalitis)

  • Cranial nerve palsies (paralysis and tremors)

  • Cerebral abscesses (localized pus build-ups within the brain)

Listeriosis wreaks havoc on the body and can cause severe complications that include death. If you or a loved one developed Listeriosis after exposure to contaminated food, contact the Minnesota Listeria Law Firm, GoldenbergLaw, today for a free Listeria lawsuit consultation.

Recent Listeria Recalls

In June 2022, Irvington Seafood recalled multiple packages of their crabmeat, called “Crabmeat: Jumbo, Lump, Finger, and Claw Meat” because they are potentially contaminated with Listeria. The recalled seafood was sent to distributors in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

Also in June 2022, Minnesota’s Northern Tier Bakery, LLC recalled 905 pounds of ready-to-eat salad products due to potential Listeria contamination.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) keeps a list of Listeria outbreaks which you can access here.

How GoldenbergLaw Can Help

If you or a loved one suffered from listeriosis after a Listeria infection, contact the Minnesota Listeria Attorneys at GoldenbergLaw. Our team has more than 35 years of experience providing our clients with the Gold Standard of advocacy. Contact us today for a free Listeria lawsuit consultation to learn about how we can help you.

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