CDC warns of Listeria outbreak linked to deli-sliced meats and cheeses

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The U.S. Center for Disease Control is investigating a multi-state Listeria outbreak linked to deli-sliced meats and cheeses, the agency announced Thursday.

Eight people have been sickened in four states: Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. All eight people were hospitalized, and one person in Michigan has died, the CDC says.

The affected people all reported eating different types and brands of products, including meats and cheeses, purchased from and sliced at deli counters at many different retail locations, the CDC says. The outbreak strain has been identified in samples taken from meat sliced at deli counters in multiple stores, but a single, common supplier of deli products has not yet been identified.

Two cases were reported early this year; the other six were reported from November 2016 to February 2018, the CDC says.

The CDC says it is NOT advising consumers to avoid eating deli products, or that retailers should stop selling deli-sliced products.

Retailers, however, SHOULD frequently clean and sanitize their slicers and other areas where deli foods are prepared, stored, or served to avoid cross-contamination, the CDC says.

Listeria is more likely to occur among pregnant women and newborns, adults age 65 or over, and people with weakened immune systems. These groups of people should avoid eating lunch meats, cold cuts, or other deli meats — unless they are heated to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Farenheit or steaming hot just before serving, the CDC says.

Consumers should also clean their refrigerators, countertops, utensils, or other surfaces that touch deli-sliced products, according to the CDC.

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