Avoid processed meats: not only are they linked to the outbreak, but they’re carcinogenic., says the writer. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency/ANA

Consumer watchdog Georgina Crouth shares some tips for protecting your family from the listeriosis outbreak.

1. Start by avoiding processed meats: not only are they linked to the outbreak, but they’re carcinogenic. Rather opt for tinned fish, pulses, and cheaper cuts of meat. And if you are consuming processed meats or other ready-to-eat (RTE) foods, thoroughly heat them until they are steaming. 

2. Cook food thoroughly before eating it, especially meat and fish. 

3. Don’t drink unpasteurised (raw) milk and steer clear of soft cheeses made from unpasteurised milk and meat pâtés

4 Wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly before consumption. 

5. Practice good hygiene in the kitchen – don’t leave dishes overnight, which encourages bacteria; wash your hands, wipe down working surfaces and use clean utensils between handling raw and cooked food to avoid cross-contamination. 

6. Don’t put cooked meat back into the same dish that was used for marinating or onto the same board it was cut on. 

7. Keep uncooked and cooked foods separate, and don’t allow raw juices to drip onto other foods in the fridge. 

8. Stick to the use by dates for perishable foods, especially RTE. 

9. Check your fridge temperature: most fridges do not run at optimal temperatures and listeria can grow at temperatures in excess of 4ºC.

* Georgina Crouth is a consumer watchdog with serious bite. Write to her at [email protected] Follow Ask Georgie on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ConsumerAgonyAunt/ and on Twitter @georginacrouth

Also read: #Listeriosis: Food safety is our shared responsibility