CDC Warns of Listeria Outbreak in Deli Meats Responsible for 10 Hospitalizations and One Death
10 people have gotten sick across three states. Here’s what you need to know.
Earlier this weekend the CDC reported that they were investigating an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes linked to deli meats in multiple states. They’re still trying to find a specific type and brand of deli meat or supplier that may be the cause of the outbreak.
As of October 23, 10 people between the ages of 40 to 89 were infected and hospitalized and one person has died. The people they interviewed reported eating Italian deli meats, including salami, mortadella and prosciutto—both from a deli counter and prepackaged. The cases are currently in New York, Massachusetts and Florida.
If you do have deli meat (especially Italian-style meat) in your fridge, there’s no need to panic. The CDC advises heating your lunch meats to an internal temperature of 165°F or until steaming hot. Try microwaving your deli meat before you make a sandwich, or enjoy your cold cuts as part of a panini.
Related: Are Cold Cuts Healthy?
Also, remember to practice good food safety and hygiene in your kitchen. Wash your hands before and after handling deli meats, clean the surfaces in your kitchen that come into contact with your deli meats including: fridge shelves, countertops, cutting boards and utensils. Separate your deli meats so that their juices don’t drip on other foods and surfaces. And make sure to keep your meats properly chilled and stored. Unopened sealed deli meat should keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge. Freshly sliced deli meats should be kept for up to 5 days in your refrigerator.
Listeria is a bacteria that can cause listeriosis. Some people are considered high risk, including people over 65, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems. If you’re not in the high-risk group, you likely won’t get sick from listeriosis.
In pregnant women, symptoms can include fever and flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue and aches. Listeriosis can also lead to miscarriage or stillbirth—it’s the reason that pregnant women are advised to heat up cold cuts and avoid raw-milk cheeses. If you’re not pregnant, you might feel headaches, fever, muscle aches, confusion or loss of balance. These symptoms typically start 1-4 weeks after eating contaminated food, but can happen as early as the same day or as late as 70 days after you eat the food.
Call your provider if you’re experiencing symptoms of listeriosis and have consumed deli meats recently. Check back with the CDC's Listeria page for updates on the outbreak.