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What is listeriosis, and is it really such a serious risk?

Listeriosis is a food-borne disease caused by a listeria bacterium, but it is very rare. Foods most at risk include pates, soft mold-ripened cheeses such as brie and camembert and blue cheeses, ready-to-eat chickens and soft-serve ice creams.

As listeria can multiply at temperatures below that found in many domestic refrigerators, susceptible food should not be stored for more than four days. Listeria is also fairly heat-resistant, so cooked foods should be reheated to piping hot. Local health authorities advise that pregnant women should avoid susceptible foods, and unpasteurized (or raw) milk and any cheese made from it.

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