Food Safety Issues/Listeria


QUESTION: The other day I was at my in laws went into their fridge to get something to drink, and accidently put my hand in hot dog juice that had leaked out of an unopened package. I immediately washed my hands with warm water and  soap for about 10 seconds before I ate my food. I am 27 pregnant and am concerned that listeria could have been still been on my hand after washing and could have contaminated my food I was eating.

ANSWER: There is almost a zero risk that you contaminated your hands with Listeria. Enhanced risk management programs to control Listeria in hot dog processing facilities has virtually eliminating listeria associated with hot dogs and there has been no recent outbreaks associated with eating them. Listeria associated food poisoning involves eating uncooked hot dogs anyway and you didn't do that. You did the right thing by washing your hands which eliminates any risk associated with getting the hot dog juice on your hands and transferring it to any food you may have eaten. Great question Natile.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

  Thank you so much for your quick response and your knowledge. I did have want to ask you more thing thing on the subject. Does it make a difference that the hot dogs were frozen for several months then put in the fridge for them to eat? My sister in law and her family buy foods in bulk when on sale and freeze them. Forgot to mention this in my first correspondent

Thank you!

Since the hot dogs were frozen the juice that got on your hands was mostly water. Moisture on and inside the packaging freezes and thaws when they are defrosted. That is why there was a lot of "juice". In other words the juice for the most part didn't come from the inside of the hot dogs.  

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Carl LaFrate


I can answer food safety questions relative to food processing, retail food and food salvage after a catastrophic event such as a hurricane, flood, ammonia leak or fire. Questions related to HACCP, Regulatory, GFSI, SQF, BRC, liability issues, contamination events, pest infestation, pest control methodology,food safety defense, pathogen prevention such as L. Monocytogenes control in food processing and retail, any subject related to food safety including at home issues.


30 years experience as a food safety consultant working for the top food processors, food retailers and insurance companies that write liability policies related to food processing, storage and distribution. My firm employees 6 full time food safety auditors. I work for top law firms throughout the USA and am a staff consultant for Douglas Peterson and Associates, one of the top forensic engineering firms in the world. I also work with Risk Solutions International, a global leader in risk management.

New York State Association for Food Protection, past president, executive board Central Atlantic States Association of Food and Drug Officials

Progressive Grocer Magazine Smart Money Magazine Private Label Buyer Magazine Supermarket News Natural Foods Merchandiser Magazine Food Service Director Magazine NYS Association for Food Protection Annual Report NYS Association for Food Protection Newsletter

Syracuse University, Microbiology/Biology NYS College of Environmental Sciences, Plant and Environmental Biology Cornell University, Food and Dairy Processing

Awards and Honors
Wm. Hickey Award (2006), NYS Association for Food Protection, for contributions in the field of food safety and sanitation New York State Integrated Pest Management Award (2007), NYS Assoc. for Food Protection, for contributions in the filed of integrated pest management.

Past/Present Clients
Pillsbury, Agri-Mark, Associated Grocers, Beatrice Foods, Cargill, Southern Cold Storage, Quaker, Ben & Jerry’s, Delverde Pasta (Italy), New York Bakery, Cabot Cheese, Hazelwood Farms, General Mills, Price Chopper Supermarkets, P&C Supermarkets, Great American Supermarkets, Tops Markets, Big M Supermarkets, Big Bear Supermarkets, Frito-Lay Distribution Centers, IBP, Excell, Eckerd Drugs, Rite Aid Drug Stores, Fay’s Drugs, Carl’s Drugs, AWI Wholesale Food Distribution, McLane Food Distributors, Golub Food Distribution, many supermarket chains (many include large scale specialty food service operations), Burger King, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Darden Foods (Red Lobster, Olive Garden), LSG Skychefs (Germany, US), Glen Mills Schools, Cornell University, Crider Poultry, Caesar’s Palace, The Oneida Indian Nation, Taylor Meat Packing, UCB Packaging Films

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