The hysteria of Listeria in meat

Benjamín Ruiz analyzes the recent outbreak of listeriosis in Spain and its impact on animal protein production and consumers' trust.

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(fanfon |

A Listeria outbreak was recently confirmed at a pork products plant in Andalusia, Spain. As of August 26, there were 175 individuals affected, of which 82 were sent to the hospital, and an elderly lady died, according to the Spanish newspaper El País. Contamination has already been found at least in the stuffing machines, but, likely, other parts of the plant are also contaminated.

Initially, Spain issued a health alert only for the country, but it has already issued an international alert, mainly because of the 80 million visiting tourists who can return infected to their countries. And then, they had to run to remove products from the shelves.

All this calls into question health inspections and has even been caustic for the Government of Andalusia, an issue in which local political problems have touched on, and one I am not going to get into.

Here are several points to highlight. First, there is a need to re-emphasize the importance of the sanitary processes of a food-producing plant. In addition to the economic losses suffered by a company with the withdrawal of perhaps all of the products from the market, there is the loss of consumer confidence. Recovering costs a lot.

It should be emphasized that this doesn't only affect the company, but the entire swine industry and, by extension, the whole animal protein industry. People panic with what comes to them through social networks.

The other aspect I want to highlight is that this case of listeriosis shows us the importance that food preservatives and other compounds play. This is alluding to people who venerate natural food, "without preservatives" or anything artificial. And this also goes for cage-free eggs, with manure on the shell, which we then grab and spread bacteria everywhere. It also applies to raw foods consumed, and the list goes on.

What do you think?

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