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HHS HealthBeat (November 23, 2011)

Does Listeria lurk in your kitchen?

Opened refrigerator in the kitchen
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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Cam Boyce with HHS HealthBeat.

You don’t want Listeria in your home for the holidays—or at any time. These germs can make some people very sick.

Education specialist Howard Seltzer at the Food and Drug Administration:

“Unlike most bacteria, Listeria can grow in the refrigerator and Listeria contaminate many foods, such as meat, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and deli meats.” (11 seconds)

Seltzer says to clean up spills in the refrigerator with hot soapy water. And wash all fruits and vegetables under running water just before eating, cutting or cooking.

Wrap or cover foods with plastic wrap or foil, or put foods in plastic storage bags or clean covered containers before you put them in the refrigerator.

Learn more at

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Cam Boyce.

Last revised: November 23, 2011