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This study was undertaken to investigate the prevalence and lineages of Listeria monocytogenes in different kinds of food products in local Chinese markets.A total of 2686 food samples and 645 water samples were collected and L. monocytogenes was isolated from 2·28% (76 of 3331) of all samples. The prevalence of L. monocytogenes (14 of 290, 4·83%) in raw meat products was significantly higher than that in other raw food products (P < 0·05). Among 844 ready-to-eat (RTE) food samples, 21 samples were positive for L. monocytogenes. RTE packaged food products from two supermarkets had a prevalence ranging from 0·00% to 25·00%. The prevalence of L. monocytogenes in meat products of freshly slaughtered hogs was 0·95% (four of 420), significantly lower than that in raw meat products in the retail markets (P < 0·05). Ten isolates were recovered from 645 water samples, which were collected after hands washing by shopkeepers or waiters. A total of 38 isolates were randomly selected for lineage classification based on the nucleotide variation of actA gene. Eighty percentage of isolates from RTE food products belonged to Lineage II while only 20% belonged to Lineage I.Food products in Chinese markets are contaminated with L. monocytogenes. Raw meat products have the highest contamination rates among all the raw food samples. RTE food products are more likely to be contaminated with Lineage II strains.The data presented here show the main contamination sources of L. monocytogenes in Chinese food products.