You are at higher risk for severe Listeria illness if you are pregnant, aged 65 or older, or have a weakened immune system due to certain medical conditions or treatments. If you are in any of these groups, do not eat meat or cheese from any deli counter, unless it is reheated to an internal temperature of 165°F or until steaming hot.
- Illnesses: 16
- Hospitalizations: 13
- Deaths: 1
- States: 6
- Recall: No
- Investigation status: Active
Deli meats (cold cuts, lunch meats, hot dogs, and pâtés sold at the deli) and cheeses are known sources of Listeria illnesses. This is because Listeria can easily spread among food on deli countertops, deli slicers, surfaces, and hands. Listeria is a hardy germ that can be difficult to fully remove once it is in the deli. It can survive and grow at cold temperatures in the refrigerator.
Information collected so far shows that deli meat and cheese purchased at deli counters in multiple states are the likely sources of this outbreak.
It is difficult for investigators to identify a single food as the source of outbreaks linked to deli meats and cheeses. This is because Listeria spreads easily between food and the deli environment and can persist for a long time in deli display cases and on equipment. A contaminated food likely introduced the outbreak strain of Listeria into delis in multiple states. Investigators are working to identify any specific products or delis that may be contaminated with the outbreak strain.