The CDC linked a deadly listeria outbreak to meats and cheeses sliced at deli counters in several stores in multiple states in April 2019. Unfortunately, they were not able to identify a common supplier of these products. Over the past two years, eight people became infected and one died here in Michigan. Other illnesses were reported in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
Who Is At Risk Of Illness From Listeria?
This is a foodborne illness that can cause serious infection typically by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. As with many illnesses of this kind, the most vulnerable are pregnant women, newborns, seniors over the age of 65, and those with a weakened immune system. Anyone in these at-risk groups should avoid eating deli meats unless they are heated to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Symptoms usually begin anywhere from one to four weeks after eating contaminated food and include headache, stiff neck, loss of balance, confusion, diarrhea, fever, and convulsions.
How Can I Stay Food Safe?
The CDC did not advise stores to pull deli products from their shelves or consumers to stop eating them. Instead, you can take some precautions to reduce your risk of getting sick:
- Contain The Juices – don’t let the juice from the package spill onto other foods or surfaces.
- Clean Kitchen Surfaces – make sure to clean all surfaces that come in contact with products sliced at the deli counter.
- Wash Your Hands – always wash your hands after handling lunch meats, cheeses, and hot dogs.
- Toss Old Meats – opened packages of deli meats should be stored for only three to five days in the refrigerator.