About Listeria

From the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of Listeria and other foodborne illness outbreaks.

Outbreaks

Deli Meat Listeria Outbreak

Marler Clark investigated a multistate outbreak of Listeria linked to deli meat in January 2021.

As of January 28, 2021, a total of 12 people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes were reported from four states – Louisana, New York, Massachusetts and Florida. The CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several states, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) reported that they investigated a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections.

People infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes, by state of residence, as of January 26, 2021 (n=12)

Map of United States - People infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria, by state of residence, as of January 28, 2021.

Listeria samples from ill people were collected from August 6, 2020, to October 30, 2020. Ill people ranged in age from 40 to 89 years, with a median age of 81 years, 83% were female. All 12 ill people were hospitalized. One death was reported from Florida.

Epidemiologic evidence shows that deli meat was the likely source of this outbreak.

State and local public health officials interviewed ill people about the foods they ate in the month before they became ill. Of the eleven people interviewed, all reported eating Italian-style deli meats, such as salami, mortadella, and prosciutto. They reported purchasing prepackaged deli meats and meats sliced at deli counters at various locations.

The USDA-FSIS and state officials investigated this outbreak by collecting samples from stores where the ill purchased deli meat. After reviewing the data collected, they were unable to identify a common supplier of the meat. In addition, they tested the deli meat that the ill people reported eating. Again they were not able to positively identify a specific deli meat that caused the outbreak or a common supplier of the meat.

As of January 28, 2021, this outbreak is over and the investigation is complete.

Listeria bacteria can spread easily to other foods and surfaces. The bacteria in a contaminated deli product may spread to other deli meats and cheeses in shared display cases or equipment at deli counters. A traceback investigation is ongoing to determine if there is a specific type of deli meat or a common supplier linked to illness.

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