Food recalls and sickness: What should you know?

Ice cream, strawberries, packaged salads, even peanut butter—they all have been in the news in recent months because of links to foodborne illness as reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Each week, the CDC investigates dozens of foodborne illnesses, like salmonella or listeria infections involving multiple states. Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a pediatric infectious diseases physician, has more.

Eating certain foods, like undercooked meat and poultry, can make you sick. They might be contaminated with bacteria like salmonella or E. coli. That’s why cooking food to a proper temperature and avoiding cross-contamination is so important.

But what about dairy products like cheese and ice cream? Products made with raw milk can sometimes carry harmful germs including listeria.

“Listeria is a type of bacteria that is usually transmitted through food and food products. It is especially a concern if you’re pregnant, if you’re elderly or if you have a weakened immune system for some reason,” says Dr. Rajapakse.

It’s not just soft serve that’s causing listeria illness.

“If you look at all the outbreaks that have been reported in the last few years, there’s really a wide variety of different foods, including some foods that we would think of as being quite healthy.”