In a study of a university in British Columbia, scientists have found the existence of Listeria, one kind of harmful bacteria to human health in various ready-made fish products. Samples were collected from chain stores and a few small retailer shops in Vancouver.
Kevin Allen, A food microbiologist working for UBC food ran experimentation on 40 samples before their expiry date. The samples included tuna, fish jerky, lox and some other products.
A journal named ‘Food Microbiology’, brought out the findings in its latest issue. The report states that 20 percent of those fish products were contaminated with Listeria bacteria. And 5 percent of these products carried a few dangerous kinds of Listeria bacteria.
Although the level of Listeria monocytogenes in those products were according to the guidelines but the number of bacteria can multiply instantly. And this process is most expected to take place during handling and storing in the shops.
Kevin Allen said that handling actions like slicing and packaging can increase the possibilities of cross contamination. He also said that heat in a high grade can kill Listeria bacteria but people usually eat these kinds of foods without any boiling or cooking.
He also added that people with a fragile immune system, pregnant women and the elderly should take extra precautions.
The researchers also studied ready-made meat products from the same retailer shops the fish products were collected from. But no trace of Listeria was found in the meat samples in which pepperoni, beef, ham and bologna were included.
The study was led by Kevin Allen and an assistant professor from the ‘Faculty of Land and Food Systems’ (LFS) along with Lili Mesak, a research assistant working at UBC food and also Jovana Kovačevic, a graduate student studying at LFS food science.
Experts say that federal guideline strictly sates that there can’t be any more than one hundred Listeria bacteria cells per gram. Any food violating this guideline will cause diarrhea and vomiting. Infections caused by Listeria bacteria can also cause brain infection and fatal damage to our blood system. It is also to be noted that these consequences are fatal in about 20-40% of such cases.
As a part of safety measures the ‘Canadian Food Inspection Agency’ has announced a warning to prevent people from eating beef products of a certain brand named ‘Country Morning’ regarding E.coli bacteria poisoning.