PASCO COUNTY, Fla. – CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) are investigating a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections linked to deli meats.
According to the CDC, 10 people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria have been reported from Florida, Massachusetts, and New York. Each of the ten ill people were hospitalized. One death has been reported from Florida.shows that deli meat is a likely source of this outbreak.
In interviews with 9 of the infected people, all reported eating Italian-style meats, such as salami, mortadella, and prosciutto. They reported purchasing prepackaged deli meats and meats sliced at deli counters at various locations.
A specific type of deli meat and common supplier has not yet been identified according to the CDC.
You are at higher risk for getting sick with Listeria if you are pregnant, aged 65 years or older, or have a weakened immune system. If you are not in these groups, you are unlikely to get sick from Listeria.
Deli meats, also called lunch meat or cold cuts, can have Listeria bacteria.
Avoid eating deli meats, unless heated to an internal temperature of 165°F or until steaming hot just before serving.
Take additional steps to prevent getting sick:
- Wash your hands after handling deli meats.
- Clean refrigerator shelves, kitchen countertops, utensils, and other surfaces that may have come into contact with deli meats. Listeria can survive in refrigerated temperatures and can easily spread to other foods and surfaces.
- Don’t let juice from deli meats get on other foods, utensils, and food preparation surfaces.
- Keep factory-sealed, unopened packages of deli meats in the refrigerator for no longer than 2 weeks.
- Keep opened packages and meat sliced at a local deli in the refrigerator for no longer than 5 days.
Call your healthcare provider if you ate deli meats and are experiencing symptoms of Listeria infection.