Why are some people at high risk for foodborne illness?
Listeria monocytogenes is a bacteria that can cause severe illness in some people, including pregnant women (the risk is for the fetus), elderly, and people who have weakened immune systems. [Healthy people rarely get sick when they are exposed to listeria.] Foods that are likely to containListeria should be avoided by people in the high-risk categories. Listeria is a very tough bacteria. It survives and can even multiply slowly in the refrigerator. If refrigerated foods that have a long "shelf-life" are contaminated with low levels ofListeria in a processing plant, the number ofListeria may become very high before the food is eaten.
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