Listeria is a Gram-positive bacillus genus in which Listeria monocytogenes appears to be the only human foodborne pathogen specie. The infectious disease associated with Listeria monocytogenes is potentially mortal. Its riskiness is related to the ubiquitous presence of the bacteria in the environment and its growth capacity at low temperature and high salinity. Despite having listeriosis a low incidence (normally less that one in 100,000 people per year) the mortality rate appears to be around 20-30%.
According to the latest EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) report published in 2014 and referred to the 2012 year, there were 1,642 confirmed human cases of listeriosis in the European Union which corresponds to 10.5% increase compared with 2011. The highest notification rates were produced in Finland, Spain and Denmark with Romania representing the lowest notification rate. Almost all the cases were from domestic origin.