Concern about the increase in cases of food listeriosis in Italy. The outbreak started from a company that produces frankfurters of poultry meat marketed under different brands. All packages have been identified and withdrawn from the market. The alarm was also raised on the platform of the European Union and, for example, yesterday the list of products at risk was also released in Spain.
To date, according to the latest data in the possession of the Ministry of Health, 3 have been dead and 61 hospitalized. The cause of the alert is a bacterium called Listeria monocytogen. They explain to the Ministry: “The checks, carried out by the working group set up to deal with the spread of the bacterium, revealed a correlation between some of the clinical cases and the presence of the Listeria ST 155 strain in wurstel based on poultry meat produced by the farm Tre Valli – IT 04 M CE. The presence was also confirmed by sampling carried out at the plant. The company has started all the measures to protect the consumer with the withdrawal of the batches that tested positive (1785417 and 01810919) and, in application of the principle of maximum precaution, of all those produced before 12 September 2022. It has also put in place a reinforcing communication of what has already been indicated on the products directly at the points of sale “. In supermarkets, information signs have already appeared warning of the withdrawal. The laboratory at national level delegated to follow the topic of listeria is the Zooprophylactic Institute of Teramo. They tell the Ministry of Health: “At the moment, further investigations are underway also on other matrices and on other types of products that could be related to human cases of listeriosis”.
Listeria is rare. In general, the contamination mainly concerns “ready to eat” food products, which you eat without cooking. Nhs (the United Kingdom health service) indicates as foods in which the spread of the bacterium is possible: «Cold cuts and cooked meats; smoked fish and cooked shellfish; soft cheeses; pate; pre-prepared sandwiches and salads; already prepared fruit; unpasteurized milk; dairy products based on raw milk ‘. In fact, on the packaging of the sausages it says that they must be cooked, but in common use this almost never happens. In general, the bacterium “can be present in soil, water and vegetation and can contaminate various foods such as milk, vegetables, soft cheeses, undercooked meats, and slightly seasoned sausages. The main route of transmission for humans is food. Healthy children and adults can occasionally be infected, but rarely develop a serious disease unlike debilitated, immunosuppressed subjects and pregnant women where the disease is more severe ».
The symptoms are fever at 38, flu or gastrointestinal forms, in most cases everything is resolved without serious problems, but in the weakest people and in those most at risk, unfortunately, there may also be deaths. As mentioned, the report of the Italian outbreak was published in Rasff, the European food alert network. When the first cases were recorded, linked to that particular strain (Listeria ST 155), the initial hypotheses had traced the origin of the spread to a cheese. Subsequent investigations made it possible to go back to the plant in which this type of sausage was produced. The company intervened and made production safe. According to the Higher Institute of Health, the last outbreak of listeriosis in Italy was found between May 2015 and January 2016 in the provinces of Pesaro and Urbino, Ancona and Macerata. In that case there were two deaths. «The epidemiological and microbiological investigations carried out to date have revealed a meat product called“ coppa di testa ”as a likely vehicle for the infection».