Listeria outbreak linked to deli-sliced meats and cheeses

April 23, 2019

CDC has posted an investigation notice about a multistate outbreak of Listeria infections linked to deli-sliced meats and cheeses.

CDC and several states are investigating a multistate outbreak of Listeria infections linked to deli-sliced meats and cheeses. Eight sick people were reported from four states (Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania). All eight people were hospitalized, including one death reported from Michigan.

In interviews, ill people report eating different types and brands of products, including meats and cheeses, purchased from and sliced at deli counters in many different retail locations. The outbreak strain has been identified in samples taken from meat sliced at a deli and from deli counters in multiple stores.

A single, common supplier of deli products has not been identified.

Two cases were reported in early 2019, and the other six were reported from November 2016 to February 2018. During an initial investigation of three cases in March 2017, there was not enough information to determine the source of the outbreak.

Information from the two recent cases, in addition to the outbreak strain found in deli meat and deli counters, has now provided enough information to link the outbreak to deli-sliced products.

CDC is not advising that consumers avoid eating products prepared at delis, or that retailers stop selling deli-sliced products. Retailers should clean and sanitize deli slicers frequently and other areas where deli products are prepared, stored, or served to avoid cross contamination.

This outbreak is a reminder that people at higher risk for severe Listeria infection should handle deli-sliced products carefully to prevent illness. Pregnant women and their newborns, adults age 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to get sick with Listeria infection. These groups of people should avoid eating lunch meats, cold cuts, or other deli meats, unless they are heated to an internal temperature of 165°F or until steaming hot just before serving.

Consumers should clean refrigerators, kitchen countertops, utensils, and other surfaces that touch deli-sliced products.

CDC has more information