Bacteria in sausage: what are listeria and how dangerous are they??

Bacteria in sausage: what are listeria and how dangerous are they??

The authorities justify the ban on sales and the recall of meat products from the sieber company with the suspicion of listeria.

What are listeria?
You can’t see them, yet listeria in food can cause significant harm to sick people and children. The dangerous rod-shaped bacteria that have now been found in the sausage of a company in upper bavaria occur frequently in nature – for example in compost, in the soil and on plants. Animal and plant products can be contaminated by both faecal and environmental sources.

What foods can be affected?
Contamination of food with listeria can occur at various stages of production and processing. Raw animal products such as minced meat, sushi and raw milk cheese are particularly at risk. Because processing contaminated raw materials does not always kill the bacteria: listeria are very resistant. They can withstand both freezing and drying. Boiling, frying, sterilizing and pasteurizing, on the other hand, safely kills the bacteria.

Particularly affected food products are

– sliced sausage, sausage and meat patties,
– short or quickly ripened raw sausage varieties (z. B. Onion sausage, tea sausage),
– raw meat (z. B. Tartar, mett, bratwurstgehack],
– raw (unpasteurized) milk and products made therefrom (e.G. B. Raw milk cheese),
– soft cheese (mainly cheese with red smear formation and there especially the rind due to subsequent contamination), z. B. Romadur and roquefort,
– sour milk, sheep and goat cheese,
– smoked fish (salmon).

Sieber sausage: these products could be contaminated with listeria

what happens if i ingest listeria and what is listeriosis??
Only a small percentage of people who ingest listeria actually contract listeriosis. In healthy adults, the infection usually goes unnoticed or takes a harmless course with flu-like symptoms such as fever and muscle pain or vomiting and diarrhea – often only up to eight weeks after consumption.

Who is at risk from listeriosis??
The infection is dangerous for immunocompromised persons: newborns, old people, patients with chronic diseases, transplanted persons and pregnant women. Listeriosis can be fatal for you and for unborn children.

How often does listeriosis occur and how is the disease treated??
In germany, there are an average of 400 to 650 traps per year.



Listeriosis is treated with antibiotics. As a preventive measure, experts recommend, among other things, that meat and fish dishes be thoroughly cooked, that raw meat or fish be avoided, and that fruit and vegetables be thoroughly washed.

How can I protect myself from listeria infection??
The following rules should be observed when handling food:

– meat and fish dishes are cooked all the way through,
– boiling raw milk,
– do not eat minced meat raw.
– as a precaution, pregnant women should also avoid eating raw meat and dairy products and remove the rind from cheese in general.
– pay attention to the use-by date for perishable foods and, in particular, consume products in vacuum packaging as long as possible before this date.
– to avoid subsequent contamination, generally observe the rules of cake hygiene.
– because listeria can multiply even at refrigerator temperatures, keep refrigerator storage times as short as possible and cover freshly cooked food well before refrigeration to avoid subsequent contamination.

Information from the bavarian state office for health and food safety and dpa

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