Listeria Outbreak Linked to Leafy Greens

Illustration with a microscope and text reading Investigation Notice

Posted June 13, 2023

This outbreak is over. Stay up to date on food recalls and outbreaks to avoid getting sick from eating contaminated food.

Fast Facts
  • Illnesses: 19
  • Hospitalizations: 18
  • Deaths: 0
  • States: 16
  • Recall: No
  • Investigation status: Closed
Leafy greens on a white background.
Outbreak Investigation Summary

This outbreak is over.

When this investigation began, there was not enough information to identify the source of the outbreak.

State and local health officials collected as much information as they could by asking people or their caregivers about foods they ate before getting sick. Epidemiologic data showed that leafy greens were a likely source of this outbreak, but there was not enough other data to identify a specific type or producer of leafy greens.

  • Of 14 people who answered questions about leafy greens, 13 (93%) people ate leafy greens.
  • Analysis showed that people in this outbreak were 8 times more likely to eat iceberg lettuce and 5 times more likely to eat romaine lettuce before getting sick compared to people who got sick with Listeria but were not part of an outbreak.
  • People bought leafy greens and different brands of packaged salads from several stores.
What You Should Do

Stay healthy and prevent Listeria:

  • Find out if you are at higher risk for getting sick with Listeria.
  • Learn which foods are more likely to contain Listeria, and take steps to prevent getting sick.
  • Stay up to date on food recalls and outbreaks to avoid getting sick from eating contaminated food.

Prepare leafy greens safely

Vegetables, including leafy greens, are an important part of a healthy and balanced diet. However, they can sometimes be contaminated with harmful germs.

The safest produce is cooked; the next safest is washed. However, no washing method can remove all germs.

When eating raw leafy greens:

  • Wash your hands, utensils, and surfaces before and after preparing leafy greens.
  • Clean leafy greens before eating or cutting them.
    • Discard outer leaves on whole heads of lettuce and any torn or bruised leaves.
    • Rinse under running water and use your hands to gently rub the surface of the leaves.
    • Dry with a clean cloth or paper towel.
    • If the label on a leafy greens package says “ready to eat,” “triple washed,” or “no washing necessary,” you don’t need to wash the greens.
  • Keep leafy greens separate from raw meat, poultry, and seafood.
  • Refrigerate leafy greens within 2 hours. Refrigerate within 1 hour if they have been exposed to temperatures above 90°F (like a hot car or picnic).