Disease Proof

Vacuum-Packed Bacteria

Well, this is officially gross. Charles Q. Choi of LiveScience reports that vacuum-packed foods are a breeding ground for icky bacteria. Proceed with caution:
Vacuum-packed foods are deprived of oxygen to keep them fresh and boost their shelf life, but the same strategy is a boon for Listeria monocytogenes, a bacterium responsible for a kind of food poisoning that kills 25 percent of the people it infects.


Unlike many other food-borne germs, Listeria can grow even in the cold temperatures of refrigerators. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration notes that the microbe has been linked with foods such as raw milk; ice cream; soft-ripened cheeses such as feta, Brie and Camembert; hot dogs; raw and deli meats; raw vegetables; raw and cooked poultry; and raw and smoked fish.

In experiments with guinea pigs, Technical University of Denmark researchers found oxygen-deprived Listeria gets mean—up to 100 times more invasive than when grown with ample supplies of oxygen, findings which are detailed June 14 in the online journal BMC Microbiology.
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