A deli meat Listeria outbreak has sickened seven people in Massachusetts, two people in New York and one person in Florida who died. All 10 people required hospitalization.
The people sickened in this outbreak provided their food histories to health officials and reported eating Italian-style deli meats, such as salami, mortadella, and prosciutto in the weeks before they became ill. They recalled buying these meats prepackaged and freshly sliced at deli counters at multiple store locations.
Massachusetts patients range in age from 60 to 89 years old and are residents of three counties: Essex County (4), Suffolk County (2) and Middlesex County (1), according to the state health department. Six of them recalled eating deli meat before they became ill. They said they bought the deli meat from a grocery store chain.
Using information about products gathered from patients and stores, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA- FSIS) is conducting a traceback investigation to determine the source of contamination.
Listeria monocytogenes is a bacteria that lives in the soil and in the intestines of cattle, poultry and other animals. Unlike other foodborne pathogens, Listeria grows well in cold temperatures. One contaminated product in a deli case could cross-contaminate nearby meats and cheeses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in its report.
Deli meats have been linked to previous Listeria outbreaks. In 2019, the CDC announced an outbreak linked to deli meats and cheeses that had been ongoing for three years. That outbreak was caused by a different strain of Listeria, but it also included illnesses from Massachusetts. Michigan, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania also reported cases. In total, 10 people were sickened and one person died.
The case-patients reported eating meats and cheeses sliced at deli counters in the weeks before they became ill. Health officials in New York and Rhode Island found the outbreak strain in samples of meat sliced at deli counters in multiple retail locations, but USDA FSIS health said that was not enough evidence to pinpoint which product was the source of contamination.
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Symptoms of a Listeria infection include headache, stiff neck, fever, muscle aches, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions. These symptoms can take as long as 70 days to develop but usually appear about two weeks after exposure to the contaminated food. Seniors, people with underlying health conditions and pregnant women are at elevated risk of developing Listeria infections. Among pregnant women, Listeria can cause miscarriage and stillbirth.
Pritzker Hageman’s Listeria lawyers are offering free consultations to people sickened in this outbreak and to family members who have suffered the wrongful death of a loved one. If you are part of this outbreak and would like a free consultation with an experienced Listeria lawyer, please contact the Pritzker Hageman Listeria Legal Team. We have represented clients in every major Listeria outbreak in the U.S. You can reach us by calling 1-888-377-8900, sending a text to 612-261-0856, or by completing the form below. There is no obligation and we don’t get paid unless we win.