Listeria – a bacteria causing a serious illness, listeriosis – is increasingly prevalent in ready-to-eat foods. Listeria is able to spread in refrigerated environments, and can contaminate refrigeration equipment and spread to other foods.
There are several ways to reduce the risk of listeriosis, the most basic are:
- Maintain refrigerator temperatures at 40o or less and freezers below 0o
- Contain food in plastic wrap or foil, plastic bags or covered containers
- Serve precooked foods as soon as possible to reduce risk of spreading
- Clean up spills in refrigerator quickly using soap, warm water and paper towels
- Sanitize refrigerators monthly using the following procedures
The Center of Disease Control (CDC) link has a more comprehensive list of recommendations to reduce the risk of listeria and other pathogens in refrigeration equipment.
The New York Times article in the Healthcare Section is an overview of the risks posed by listeriosis and improper cleanliness in food preparation.