CANBERRA, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- One in three Australian households are at risk of a potentially deadly listeria outbreak, a research has found.
The Food Safety Information Council (FSIC) on Thursday released a study conducted by leading market research firm Omnipoll, saying that 33 percent of Australians were either at risk of contracting a listeria infection or lived with someone who was.
Listeriosis is an infection caused by listeria bacteria ingested in food that is raw or inadequately cooked.
Australia's east coast was hit by a listeria outbreak in March 2018, resulting in the deaths of seven people and one miscarriage. The outbreak was linked to rock melons grown at a farm in southern New South Wales.
"This is a timely reminder that food poisoning isn't just a minor stomach upset but it should be taken seriously as it can be deadly," FSIC chair Rachelle Williams said in a media release on Thursday.
"The listeria outbreak linked to Australian rock melons earlier this year resulted in seven tragic deaths and a miscarriage.
"This was followed by a recall of imported frozen vegetables which was linked to 47 listeriosis cases and nine deaths in Europe and one death in Australia."
The elderly, pregnant women, organ transplant recipients and those with a suppressed immune system as a result of medication or chronic disease are at increased risk of catching, and dying from, listeriosis.
The FSIC advised that soft cheeses, pre-packaged fruit and vegetables and raw seafood were the foods most likely to carry listeria bacteria.
The study was released ahead of the FSIC's Australian Food Safety Week, which will run from Nov. 10-17.