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Listeria Testing can Prevent Deadly Outbreaks of the Food Pathogen


EMSL Analytical provides food testing services for Listeria monocytogenes and other pathogens to protect consumers and industry.

Cinnaminson, NJ

Last week the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced the recall of 16,000 pounds of ready-to-eat deli meat products. The products came from a California company and were shipped to food service establishments in Arizona, California, Washington, Oregon and Nevada.

Listeria monocytogenes is a Gram-positive bacterium that some studies have suggested that 1-10% of humans may be intestinal carriers of the bacteria. 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.

L. monocytogenes has been associated with such foods as raw milk, supposedly pasteurized fluid milk, cheeses (particularly soft-ripened varieties), ice cream, raw vegetables, fermented raw-meat sausages, raw and cooked poultry, raw meats, and raw and smoked fish. Its ability to grow at temperatures as low as 3°C permits multiplication in refrigerated foods.

Listeriosis is the name of the general group of disorders caused by L. monocytogenes. The manifestations of listeriosis include septicemia, meningitis, encephalitis, and intrauterine or cervical infections in pregnant women, which may result in spontaneous abortion (2nd/3rd trimester) or stillbirth. The onset of the aforementioned disorders is usually preceded by influenza-like symptoms including persistent fever. It has been reported that gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may precede more serious forms of listeriosis or may be the only symptoms expressed.

EMSL Analytical, one of the nation’s largest food pathogen testing laboratories, has extensive expertise in testing for L. monocytogenes and other dangerous food pathogens. “Most L. monocytogenes are pathogenic to some degree,” reported Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President, Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “In addition to their discovery on food products, the bacteria have been isolated from soil, silage, and other environmental sources. L. monocytogenes is quite hardy and resists the effects of freezing, drying, and heat remarkably well for bacteria that does not form spores,” he continued.

EMSL recently sponsored a public outreach video to inform people about Listeria monocytogenes. It can be viewed at:

To learn more about food pathogen testing services please visit or, call (800) 220-3675 or email

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of food, environmental and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.


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