December 10, 2022

New Deli Meat and Cheese Listeria Outbreak Sickens 16

A new deli meat and cheese Listeria outbreak has sickened at least 16 people, hospitalized 13, and killed one person, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Those patients live in six states.

New Deli Meat and Cheese Listeria Outbreak Sickens 16

The case count by state is: California (1), Illinois (2), Maryland (3), Massachusetts (2), New Jersey (1), and New Y0rk (7). Illness onset dates range from April 17, 2021 to September 29, 2022. The patient age range is from 38 to 92 years. Eleven of the patients are of Eastern European background or speak Russian. Of 14 people who gave information about their illnesses to public health investigators, 13 have been hospitalized.

One person got sick during their pregnancy, resulting in a fetal loss. And one death from Maryland has been reported.

Officials are interviewing people about the foods they ate the month before they got sick. Of 12 interviewed, 11 said they ate meat or cheese from deli counters. Among seven ill persons who live in New York, five bought sliced deli meat or cheese from at least one location of NetCost Market, a grocery store that sells international foods. Patients from other states bought deli meats or cheeses from other delis.

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Food Safety Attorney and Food Poisoning Bulletin Publisher Eric Hageman

Noted food safety lawyer Eric Hageman, who has represented many clients in Listeria monocytogenes lawsuits, said, “No one should ever get sick just because they bought meat and cheese from a deli. We hope that this outbreak does not grow now that more people are informed.”

The PulseNet system is being used to investigate this outbreak. Whole genome sequencing showed that bacteria from patient isolates are closely related genetically, which shows that they likely got sick from eating the same food.

Listeria monocytogenes outbreaks can span years, as this one did, for several reasons. First, the pathogen can remain in an environment for years without causing many illnesses. Second, not everyone who is sick sees a doctor. And finally, it can be years between cases that are submitted to PulseNet.

The Investigation

Environmental samples from a NetCost Market deli in Brooklyn, several open packages of mortadella and ham that were sliced at the same NetCost Market in Brooklyn, and sliced salami that a patient bought from a NetCost Market deli in Staten Island, New York all tested positive for the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes.

NetCost Market voluntarily closed the deli temporarily in Brooklyn after New York officials notified them about these results. A deep cleaning was conducted, then the deli was reopened after more testing did not find Listeria.

In September 2022, the outbreak strain was found in the same Brooklyn NetCost market deli. But the most recent illness with NetCost Market exposure was in 2021. After a deep cleaning, more testing did not identify Listeria in the deli.

No single food has been identified as the source of this outbreak. The pathogen spreads easily between food and the deli environment, and can last for a long time on equipment such as meat slicers and in display cases.

Protect Yourself Against Deli Meat and Cheese Listeria Outbreaks

So how can you protect yourself against deli meat and cheese Listeria outbreaks? The CDC and food safety experts advises people at higher risk of severe Listeria monocytogenes illness, which includes the elderly, pregnant women, and anyone with a chronic health condition, to avoid deli meat and cheese unless it is reheated to an internal temperature of 165°F.

If you have eaten deli meat or cheese and have been ill with the symptoms of listeriosis, see your doctor. You may be part of this deadly deli meat and cheese Listeria monocytogenes outbreak.

Attorneys at the Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Law Firm

If you have been diagnosed with a Listeria monocytogenes infection from contaminated deli meats and cheeses, please contact our experienced attorneys for help with a possible lawsuit at 1-888-377-8900 or text us at 612-261-0856. Our firm represents clients in lawsuits against grocery stores and food processors, and families in wrongful death cases.

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