TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - A bacteria contamination in Hoosier food has health officials on alert. Food chains across 15 states, including Indiana are recalling packages of spinach.
Earlier this week the supermarket chain Kroger put a halt on packages of their 10 ounce spinach amid fears of Listeria contamination.
We wanted to find out what this means for you and how you can prevent it.
"Listeria is a bacterium that is present everywhere in our environment, sometimes it becomes concentrated in the food that we eat," Dr. Philip Tenbrink of Union Hospital explained.
Dr. Tenbrink said that's exactly what's happened in the spinach recall taking place in 15 states including our own.
When the bacteria reaches levels like those in the spinach, the immediate symptoms are similar to food poisoning.
"(You'll feel) Body aches, chills, nausea, sometimes headache sometimes diarrhea," he said.
But here's where Listeria can turn deadly.
"The importance in this bacterium is that for people who have an impaired immune system it can cause serious life threatening infections like meningitis or septicemia," he said.
Tenbrink said the most at risk are young children, the elderly and pregnant patients. But he says that Listeria is something you should look out for even beyond this outbreak. And the best way to make sure you're safe is quite simple.
"It comes from contamination and a failure to properly wash a product. All fruits and vegetables need to be thoroughly rinsed and scrubbed before they are consumed," he said.
Dr. Tenbrink said if you are in one of the at-risk groups and feel these symptoms, immediately consult your physician.
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