Listeria Outbreak: Ready-to-Eat Hard-boiled Eggs: 7 Cases-1 Death
A multi-state outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections has been linked to ready-to-eat hardboiled eggs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have announced that seven people have been infected with Listeria in five states as of December 20, 2019. This outbreak has been linked the outbreak to bulk, fresh hard-boiled eggs made by Almark Food which is located in Gainesville, GA. Of the seven illnesses, four of cases had to be hospitalized and there is one reported death in Texas. Based on laboratory evidence, Almark Food’s hard-boiled eggs are contaminated with Listeria. The food company packages the hard-boiled eggs in varying sizes of plastic pails and distributes the containers nationwide to be used by the food service industry.
As of late December, the hard-boiled eggs have not been recalled, but CDC officials are warning against selling, serving or consuming the egg product. It is important for retail and food service workers to be aware of the contamination to protect the consumers who are potentially be at risk of unknowingly ingesting a foodborne illness. The CDC is asking the food service industry to cease using the bulk, hard-boiled eggs from Almark Foods, regardless of the use-by-date, until the source of the Listeria contamination is over. This includes not using the egg to make any ready-to-eat food items, such as potato salad. Furthermore, if the hard-boiled eggs have been used, it is vital that all surfaces and kitchen items are washed and sanitized. Listeria can very easily spread to other foods and surfaces.
Listeria is a result of bacteria that can grow at cold temperatures, such as in a refrigerator. Listeriosis is the infection caused from ingesting listeria monocytogenes bacteria and is especially dangerous for women who are pregnant, children, and the elderly as well as those with a compromised immune system. Listeriosis usually presents itself with symptoms similar to other foodborne illnesses with symptoms such as a fever and diarrhea. However, it is particularly hard to diagnosis and can become life threatening if the infectious bacteria spread beyond the gut, such as to the placenta or the cerebral spinal fluid. Prevention of serious illness requires awareness of current recalls, paying attention to the onset of symptoms, and by contacting a health professional when there is concern of exposure.