The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned on Friday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) are investigating an outbreak of Listeria linked to deli meats in multiple states after 10 people have been hospitalized in Florida, Massachusetts and New York with one reported death in Florida.
According to the agency, evidence points to deli meats as the source of the outbreak, with nine of the people reportedly ill after eating “Italian-style meats, such as salami, mortadella, and prosciutto” that they’d purchased both prepackaged or sliced at deli counters. According to the CDC, a specific type of deli meat or a common supplier have not been identified yet.
Per the CDC, “Listeriosis is a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. An estimated 1,600 people get listeriosis each year, and about 260 die. The infection is most likely to sicken pregnant women and their newborns, adults aged 65 or older, and people with weakened immune systems.” It is the third leading cause of death from food poisoning in the U.S. with an estimated 1,600 people getting sick and 260 dying from Listeria each year.
Deli meats (AKA lunch meats or cold cuts) are all examples of food that can have Listeria bacteria. Th agency recommends that people at risk of becoming seriously ill from the infection should avoid eating deli meats unless they are heated to an internal temperature of 165°F (or until steaming).
As Listeria can survive in refrigerated temperatures and can easily spread to other foods, some additional steps individuals can take to prevent getting sick can include: washing your hands after handling deli meats, cleaning surfaces (fridge shelves, kitchen counters, etc.) that come in contact with these meats, keep juice from deli meats away from other foods or food prep areas and throw away or use deli meat products promptly according to guidelines (factory-sealed unopened packages staying in for no longer than two weeks and opened packages or sliced meats for no longer than five days.)
You don’t have to let this warning get in the way of your potential Halloween grazing board plans, but be strategic and make substitutions where necessary if you’re at risk of getting sick!
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