Cooked ready-to-eat (RTE) meat products are widely thought to be food safe by the general public, but they are actually quite subject to contamination by microorganisms. In particular, Listeria is a serious offender when it comes to contamination of RTE deli meat, which is why pregnant women are often told not to consume deli meat unless it is properly heated in a microwave first to kill any Listeria monocytogenes that may be present. Listeria can grow even under proper refrigeration, and may not make you feel sick at all, but can pass to an unborn baby. If it does make you feel sick, you will likely experience fever, headaches, fatigue, aches, nausea, and vomiting.
The microorganisms on RTE meat contaminate foods after the cooking step and may further grow during shelf-life, potentially spoiling or causing foodborne illness. Although many RTE meat manufacturers try to combat the potential meat spoilage by adding salt, fat, and chemical preservatives like nitrates, Listeria still can manage to grow on RTE meat products. The post-packaging decontamination technologies that are most effective have been found to depend on the type of product, so there is no one-size-fits-all treatment to ensure RTE meat is safe to consume.
To help keep your family safe from food poisoning by ready-to-eat meats, be sure to consume deli meat within 3 days of purchase or, in the case of prepackaged deli meat, within 3 days of opening and within the printed expiration date. Listeria can grow even under refrigeration. If you are pregnant, be sure to heat the meat in the microwave until it is steaming, at 165 degrees Fahrenheit, although it is safest to avoid deli meat and hot dogs altogether while pregnant.
CitroBio Fresh Food Wash is effective in controlling pathogens, as well as extending the shelf life of food. There is no need to rinse after applying CitroBio. CitroBio Fresh Food Wash does not alter the taste, appearance, or smell of food. To learn more, click here.