Food safety: French discovery explains how Listeria penetrates the body, and may suggest new drug delivery strategies


These results, the culmination of a long-term project, illustrate how apparently reductionist approaches may help generate highly relevant animal models

Transgenic mice used in the French study are likely to assist scientists in better understanding a range of oral infection events. In addition, the Science findings set the stage for new studies of the body's immunological response to infection.

A March 2001 consumer advisory, issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), notes that perishable items that are pre-cooked or ready-to-eat should be consumed as quickly as possible to minimize the risk of Listeria infection. The advisory also recommends cleaning refrigerators regularly and using a thermometer to maintain foods at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder. Further, the FDA suggests that pregnant women, older adults, and those with weakened immune systems should avoid certain foods--such as hot dogs and luncheon meats, unless they are reheated until steaming hot; as well as certain soft cheeses, refrigerated pates or meat spreads, or refrigerated smoked seafood, unless contained in a cooked dish.

The Science paper was prepared at the Pasteur Institute by Pascale Cossart's team (Unit des Interactions Bacteries Cellules), and Charles Babinet 's Unit de Biologie du Dveloppement, URA CNRS; together with Jean Lefort of Unit de Pharmacologie Cellulaire; Michael Huerre of Unit d'Histopathologie; and Pierre Gounon of Station Centrale de Microscopie Electronique.


Contact: Ginger Pinholster
American Association for the Advancement of Science

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