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Listeriosis in Hispanic Pregnant Women

Pregnant Woman
Cooking and pasteurization can destroy Listeria, thus reducing food safety risks.

While all pregnant women are at risk in getting listeriosis, Hispanic women are at an increased risk due to consuming certain Hispanic foods.

Pregnant women have an altered immune system which also impacts their unborn babies. Many Hispanic dairy products are made with unpasteurized milk. These dairy foods include Mexican soft cheeses like Queso Fresco, Panela, Asadero, and Queso Blanco. When made with unpasteurized milk, Listeria may survive and cause illness. In some cases, the mother may abort their baby.

The Food and Drug Administration has put together a community educator’s guide to help educate pregnant Hispanic women of the risks. The program has many tools and materials in English and Spanish.

Learn more about this program at

About Karen Blakeslee

The Rapid Response Center was formed in 1995 as a resource for Kansas State University Research & Extension Agents. Resource topics included Food Science, Human Nutrition, Food Service, Textiles, Home Care and other consumer topics. Since that time, the Center has grown to be of valuable assistance to Kansas State University Extension Specialists in those areas.

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