Outbreak Investigation of Listeria monocytogenes Linked to Hard-Boiled Eggs, December 2019

*Press Release*

Additional companies have initiated recalls of products containing recalled eggs

On December 23, 2019 Almark Foods expanded its voluntary recall to include all hard-boiled eggs manufactured at its Gainesville, Georgia facility. The initial recall included bulk hard-boiled eggs in pails and now includes product packaged for sale at retail within shelf-life, which have “Best If Used By Dates” through March 2, 2020. If the “Best If Used By” code starts with the prefix “G”, the product was manufactured at the company’s Gainesville, Georgia facility and is subject to this recall. At this time, Almark Foods is no longer producing products from this facility.

Companies who received recalled product from Almark Foods have initiated recalls of products containing these eggs. A list of all these recalls is available on the FDA website.

Recommendation

Consumers should not eat any of the recalled products. A full list of products sold at retail is available below.

Food processors, restaurants, and retailers should not sell or serve any of the recalled hard-boiled and peeled eggs from Almark Foods. These products were sold in bulk pails to food processors, restaurants and retailers, and in retail packaging to retailers for direct-sale to consumers. The full list of products is below.

Additionally, FDA recommends that food processors, restaurants and retailers who have received  Almark Foods bulk, fresh hard-boiled eggs, use extra vigilance in cleaning and sanitizing any surfaces that may have come in contact with these products, to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.

Background

As of December 17, 2019, a total of seven people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported from five states. In interviews, ill people answered questions about the foods they ate and other exposures in the month before they became ill. Of the five people for whom information was available, four reported eating products containing eggs. Three of these people reported eating hard-boiled eggs in deli salads purchased from grocery stores and in salads eaten at restaurants. Illnesses started on dates ranging from April 10, 2017 to November 12, 2019.

Additionally, based on whole-genome sequencing, the Listeria monocytogenes found in  environmental samples collected at the firm’s processing facility during FDA inspections conducted in February 2019 and December 2019 are a genetic match to the outbreak strain. Almark Foods has been cooperating with the ongoing investigation and announced an initial voluntary recall of hard-boiled and peeled eggs in pails on December 20, 2019. On December 23, 2019 Almark Foods expanded the initial recall to include all hard-boiled eggs produced at its Gainesville, Georgia facility.

This outbreak strain was found during environmental sampling in 2017 of one other food facility. That facility is not currently handling food and ceased operation in 2018.

The investigation is ongoing and additional information will be provided as it becomes available.