May 29, 2024

History of Meat and Cheese Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreaks

There is a new deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak that is linked to deli meats and cheeses. Ten people are sick in three states, including Florida, Massachusetts, and New York, and one person who lived in Florida has died. All ten patients were hospitalized. While people at high risk for serious complications of food poisoning are warned to stay away from deli meats and cheeses, how often are outbreaks linked to those products? The issue is usually one of cross-contamination. If there is Listeria monocytogenes contamination in a deli, the pathogen can spread via slicing machines. One this pathogen is established, it can resist cleaning. These outbreaks don't happen often, and each one doesn't sicken many people, but those who do get sick are usually hospitalized. This is a … [Read more...]

Deli Meat Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreak Sickens 10 in 3 States

A deli meat Listeria monocytogenes outbreak has sickened 10 people in three states, according to a notice posted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Epidemiologic evidence shows that deli meat is a likely source of this outbreak. The case count by state is: Florida (1), Massachusetts (7), and New York (2). All ten patients have been hospitalized. One person who lived in Florida has sadly died. Illness onset dates range from August 6, 2020 to October 3, 2020. The patient age range is from 40 to 89 years. Nine of the patients were interviewed by investigators. All of them said that they ate Italian-style meats, such as salami, mortadella, and prosciutto, before they got sick. They bought prepackaged deli meats and meats sliced at deli counters at different … [Read more...]

Listeria Monocytogenes Deli Meats and Cheese Outbreak Ends

The Listeria monocytogenes deli meats and cheeses outbreak is over after sickening 10 people in 5 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All 10 people were hospitalized. One person who lived in Michigan died. The patient case count by state is: Massachusetts (1), Michigan (2), New Jersey (2), New York (2), and Pennsylvania (3). The illness onset dates ranged from November 13, 2016 to June 20, 2019. Ill persons ranged in age from 40 to 88 years. Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence found that deli-sliced meats and cheese might have been contaminated with Listeria bacteria and made people sick. Of the eight people interviewed, 63% said they ate products sliced at a deli counter, including meats and cheeses. There was limited information about … [Read more...]

Protect Yourself Against Listeria Outbreak Linked to Deli Meat Cheese

A deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to unnamed deli meats and cheeses has sickened at least eight people in four states. All eight people were hospitalized. And, sadly, one person in Michigan died. Can you protect yourself and your family against this illness? This pathogen does not cause many outbreaks in the U.S., since it sickens about 2,600 people every year. Compared to Salmonella, which sickens 1,200,000 people every year in this country, it may seem like this pathogen isn't as dangerous. But that perception is wrong. Listeria monocytogenes causes serious illness and death in this country every year.  In fact, Listeria infections are the third leading cause of death from food poisoning in the U.S. One of the issues with this pathogen is that the population … [Read more...]

Why Are Deli Sliced Products Vulnerable to Listeria Monocytogenes?

The deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to deli sliced meats and cheeses that was announced yesterday by the CDC has sickened eight people and one Michigan resident has died. For years, Food Poisoning Bulletin has told you about dozens of recalls of deli items for possible Listeria contamination. Why are these deli sliced products vulnerable to Listeria? Listeria monocytogenes is a very persistent and strong pathogen. It is found in the air, water, soil, animals, and plant material. Once it has been introduced into a facility, especially a moist and cool environment, it can become established and be very difficult to get rid of. The pathogen can hide in floor cracks, grease traps, air vents, in machines and surfaces that are difficult to clean, on food preparation … [Read more...]

Deadly Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreak Linked to Deli Meats and Cheeses

A deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to deli sliced meats and cheeses has just been announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Eight people are sick in four states; one person who lived in Michigan has died. All eight patients have been hospitalized because their illnesses are so serious. The patient case count by state is: Michigan (2), New Jersey (1), New York (2), and Pennsylvania (3). Illness onset dates range from November 13, 2016 to March 4, 2019. The patient age range is from 40 to 88 years. It's unusual that illnesses that occurred more than 2 years ago are only now being announced in an outbreak, but this has happened before in Listeria monocytogenes outbreaks; most notably in the Blue Bell ice cream outbreak. Investigators use … [Read more...]

USDA Says Deli Listeria Pilot Project Working Well

The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has released their second quarter report of a year-long pilot program that assesses whether retailers are using the government's recommendations to address Listeria monocytogenes contamination in their deli departments. The program started in January 2016. The report states that more retail delis are following recommendations. Listeria monocytogenes contamination is a serious issue with deli products, especially sliced meats and cheeses. There have been several outbreaks in the past few years linked to these products, particularly soft cheeses. There is zero tolerance for Listeria monocytogenes bacteria in ready-to-eat foods because this infection can be so devastating, and because there is no kill step before the consumer eats … [Read more...]

CDC Study on Retail Deli Slicer Cleaning Frequency

The CDC, in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report for the week of April 1, 2016, has published a study on how often retail deli slicers are cleaned. Deli foods are notorious for being contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. Listeria infections are the third highest cause of foodborne illness deaths in the country, after Salmonella and Toxoplasma gondii. Deli meats are a major source of listeriosis illnesses. And once Listeria bacteria are present in a facility, it can be very difficult to eradicate. Mechanical slicers pose cross-contamination risks in delicatessens. If the machine is used to prepare cheese that is contaminated with pathogens, then that cleaner is used to prepare other foods, they may become contaminated too. Reducing Listeria contamination of these … [Read more...]

FSIS Launches Pilot Project on Listeria Monocytogenes and Delis

Listeria monocytogenes can be found in most environments, but is a particular problem in delicatessens. Food Poisoning Bulletin has told you about many recalls of deli foods for contamination by this pathogenic bacteria. Listeria is often associated with ready-to-eat deli meats and soft cheeses that may be recut and packaged by store delis. And studies have shown that Listeria can easily survive the standard cleaning procedures used by most deli operators and employees. The bacteria can survive at refrigerator temperatures and can hide in nooks and tiny crevices. In fact, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems are told to avoid eating ready-to-eat foods purchased from delicatessens. The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) held a webinar on January 13, … [Read more...]

Adolf’s Brand Meats Recalled for Listeria in CT

Adolf’s Meat Products of Hartford, Conn.  is recalling approximately 224 pounds of assorted meat that may be adulterated with Listeria monocytogenes. Consumers who have purchased these meats should not eat them as Listeria can cause serious illness and death. The recalled items,  produced on Oct. 20, 2015 and sold at retial locations in Connecticut are: Smoked Kielbasa, Ham, Canadian Bacon, Bone-In Pork Loins and Liverwurst.  The smoked kielbasa products have establishment number “EST. 34651” inside the USDA mark of inspection. The other products were sold without labels from deli counters. while other products were sold without labels from behind deli counters. At the time of the recall there were no confirmed reports of adverse reactions. However, symptoms of a Listeria infection … [Read more...]

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