A Listeria Outbreak in 6 States Is Linked to Deli Meat and Cheese—Here’s What We Know So Far

Thirteen have been hospitalized due to a listeria outbreak. Here's what you need to know.

There’s nothing like freshly sourced ingredients from your local deli. After all, there are lots of deli recipes that only deli meat or cheese seem to complete. However, you may need to be cautious on your next deli run.

On November 9, the CDC announced the investigation of a multi-state listeria outbreak linked to deli meats and cheeses. The investigation is still underway, but the outbreak has affected consumers across the country. Here’s what to keep in mind:

What Is Causing This Outbreak?

According to the CDC, new laboratory data shows that a strain of listeria called Listeria monocytogenes—a foodborne bacteria—has been found in meat and cheese from deli counters. Listeria tends to frequent milk, cheeses, meats and certain produce.

State and local health officials have partially traced this outbreak to NetCost Market, a New York grocery chain and deli specializing in international food. Seven sick New Yorkers reported buying sliced deli meat and cheese from at least one location of the store. In 2021, NetCost Market voluntarily closed its Brooklyn location after city officials found an outbreak strain of listeria in several food samples. The same strain was found again in the same deli location in September 2022. The store has since done a deep cleaning and no listeria has been found in the deli.

The CDC believes the NetCost Market is not the only deli linked to the listeria outbreak as cases have been reported in multiple states.

Who Is Affected?

As of November 9, sixteen people—ranging in age from 38 to 92 years old—from six states had been infected. Of the sixteen, thirteen had been hospitalized. Tragically, one person has passed away and another suffered pregnancy loss.

The CDC estimates that the true number of people infected is unknown. This is because the symptoms can often resemble other illnesses that people recover from in a few days—and not all think to test for listeria.

Infections have been detected in New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois and California between April 2021 and September 2022. Yearly, the CDC estimates that 1,600 people are likely to be infected by the bacteria and certain populations are more affected by it than others.

What Should I Do Next?

Investigators, state health officials, the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture are all working to identify the particular cause of the outbreak. However, the CDC urges those in high-risk categories like pregnant people, babies, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems to avoid eating meat or cheese from delis unless it is reheated to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees or is steaming hot.

Jessica Kaplan
Jessica Kaplan creates trend content for Taste of Home. When it comes to all things food news, she's an expert. Jessica has previously written lifestyle content for Reader’s Digest, Family Handyman and The Healthy. These days, she loves trying out the latest TikTok recipes and exploring New York eateries and coffee shops.