Listeria monocyotogenes
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From The Food and Drug Administration

The Food and Drug Administration issued the following advisory concerning the hazards of Listeria monocytogenes, but they failed to give the obvious advice: Stop eating animals and their by-products and go on a vegetarian (vegan) diet.


Listeria monocytogenes is a bacterium that can cause a serious infection in humans called listeriosis, that results in an estimated 2,500 serious illnesses and 500 deaths each year. Food borne illness caused by L. monocytogenes in pregnant women can result in miscarriage, fetal death, and severe illness or death of a newborn infant. Others at risk for severe illness or death are older adults and those with weakened immune systems.

Because L. monocytogenes can grow at refrigerator temperatures and is found in ready-to-eat foods, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising all consumers to reduce the risk of illness by:

  • Using perishable items that are precooked or ready-to-eat as soon as possible;  
  • Cleaning their refrigerators regularly; and  
  • Using a refrigerator thermometer to make sure that the refrigerator always stays at 40 degrees F or below.

Since pregnant women, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for listeriosis, FDA is providing the following advice to those at-risk consumers of foods that have a greater likelihood of containing Listeria monocytogenes:

  • Do not eat hot dogs and luncheon meats, unless they are reheated until steaming hot.  
  • Do not eat soft cheese such as Feta, Brie, and Camembert cheeses, blue-veined cheeses, and Mexican-style cheeses such as "queso blanco fresco."

Cheeses that may be eaten include hard cheese; semi-soft cheeses such as mozzarella; pasteurized processed cheeses such as slices and spreads; cream cheese; and cottage cheese.

  • Do not eat refrigerated pates or meat spreads. Canned or shelf-stable pates and meat spreads may be eaten.  
  •  Do not eat refrigerated smoked seafood, unless it is contained in a cooked dish, such as a casserole. Refrigerated smoked seafood, such as salmon, trout, whitefish, cod, tuna, or mackerel, is most often labeled as "nova-style," "lox," "kippered," "smoked," or "jerky." The fish is found in the refrigerator section or sold at deli counters of grocery stores and delicatessens. Canned or shelf-stable smoked seafood may be eaten.  
  • Do not drink raw (unpasteurized) milk or eat foods that contain unpasteurized milk.

To keep food safe from harmful bacteria, follow these four simple steps:

Clean: Wash hands and surfaces often Separate: Don't cross-contaminate Cook: Cook to proper temperatures Chill: Refrigerate promptly


Listeria monocytogenes is a Gram-positive bacterium, motile by means of flagella. Some studies suggest that 1-10% of humans may be intestinal carriers of L. monocytogenes.  It has been found in at least 37 mammalian species, both domestic and feral, as well as at least 17 species of birds and possibly some species of fish and shellfish.  It can be isolated from soil, silage, and other environmental sources. Listeria monocytogenes is quite hardy and resists the deleterious effects of freezing, drying, and heat remarkably well for a bacterium that does not form spores.  Most L. monocytogenes are pathogenic to some degree.

We believe that the enormous amount of fecal matter produced by the concentration of animals in factory farms and the contamination in slaughterhouses pose a real danger to the human population.

In December 2001, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) stated that the annual incidence of listeriosis decreased by 44% between 1989 and 1993.  It has remained stable at approximately 5 cases per million population over the past 5 years.  In 2000, an outbreak that resulted in 29 illnesses, 4 deaths, and 3 miscarriages in 10 states was traced to consumption of contaminated turkey meat. 

Based on USDA recall reports, in 2002 incidents of listeriosis appear to have increased significantly.  The CDC further states that many of the cases are not being properly diagnosed or reported.  Additionally, many cases of listeriosis are not being reported by ill individuals, since the symptoms are "flu-like" and are self-treated.  This further amplifies our concern about the food hazard of the presence of Listeria monocytogenes.

In the 1950's infection due to Listeria monocytogenes was so rare in humans that it  was not mentioned in a laboratory textbook listing "the more common bacteria."   By 1985 the medical books stated that infections from Listeria monocytogenes was "uncommon" in humans.  Today, as the FDA statistics clearly show, Listeria monocytogenes is a clear and present danger.

Even vegans need to be very cautious because plant foods can become contaminated when exposed to infected animal foods and unsanitary conditions in supermarkets, restaurants, and even homes where animal food products are present.

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We began this archive as a means of assisting our visitors in answering many of their health and diet questions, and in encouraging them to take a pro-active part in their own health. We believe the articles and information contained herein are true, but are not presenting them as advice. We, personally, have found that a whole food vegan diet has helped our own health, and simply wish to share with others the things we have found. Each of us must make our own decisions, for it's our own body. If you have a health problem, see your own physician.