Protecting Against Listeria: A hearty, hard-to-kill bacteria

A recent multi-state outbreak of Listeria is hitting the east coast of The United States Listeria, or more accurately, Listeria monocytogenes, also known as L. mono, is transmitted by ingesting contaminated food. For example, one major outbreak was from contaminated cabbage in coleslaw, but it has also been found in celery, sprouts, cantaloupe, and even ice cream.

A root-cause investigation is underway, but this bacteria is currently affecting meat and cheese from deli counters. There are 16 known sick people across at least six states dating back over 18 months, with victims including one pregnancy loss and death in Maryland. 

Listeria has been detected in both the products and the environment within the deli. Per the CDC, “Listeria can easily spread among food on deli countertops, deli slicers, surfaces, and hands. Listeria is a hardy germ that can be difficult to fully remove once it is in the deli. It can survive and grow at cold temperatures in the refrigerator.” 

Ready-to-Eat (RTE) items such as deli products are particularly prone to carrying Listeria, because the bacteria happily reproduce at temperatures down to 34°F and, generally, deli food never gets heated which would have otherwise destroyed the germs. 

Why Outbreaks can Spread Undetected—Even Across Multiple-States

Using bacteria DNA analysis, the CDC has evidence of this outbreak dating all the way back to April 2021, more than 18 months ago. That is because the incubation period ranges from weeks to months, plus it can take up to one month to connect a patient to the outbreak. Given that most people recover without medical care and so are never tested, the CDC believes this outbreak to be far wider than the 6 states currently identified.

EPIC iO AIR is an effective way to suppress pathogens like Listeria and increase food safety. Running overnight in cold storage and food preparation areas it actively kills germs without any manual intervention and without any chemicals that would otherwise harm products and the environment. EPIC iO AIR kills between 99.2 and 99.6% of L. mono bacteria, on every square inch exposed to the air in the room.