The Listeria monocytogenes contamination of 3,065 pate products sampled at the point of retail sale in England and Wales was examined. Ninety-seven percent of samples were free of contamination with L. monocytogenes, 2.0% (60) had levels of less than 200 CFU/g, and 0.6% (18) had levels of 200 CFU/g or more. Fish and seafood pate were significantly more commonly contaminated by L. monocytogenes than other pate types (χ2 test, P = 0.001). Pate obtained from small retail shops was significantly more likely to be contaminated at levels of ≥200 CFU/g (χ2 tests, P < 0.0005) than that obtained from supermarkets. L. monocytogenes was isolated significantly more often (χ2 tests, P < 0.00002) from packs of pate that were open at the time of collection (3.8%) than those that were sold prepacked (1.2%). There were also significantly more samples (χ2 test, P = 0.0009) where L. monocytogenes was recovered at higher levels (≥200 CFU/g) in opened, as compared to prepacked, samples. There was a significant difference in the rates and levels of contamination of opened samples between shops and supermarkets (χ2 tests, P < 0.0025). Evidence from this study shows that most of the pate sold in England and Wales is not contaminated with L. monocytogenes, and we suggest that the main areas of concern are cross-contamination and the length of display of pate sold from opened packs.