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  5. Outbreak Investigation of Listeria monocytogenes: Hard-Boiled Eggs (December 2019)
  1. Outbreaks of Foodborne Illness

Outbreak Investigation of Listeria monocytogenes: Hard-Boiled Eggs (December 2019)

Additional companies have initiated recalls of products containing recalled eggs

December 26, 2019

Rainbow Farms Select Hard Cooked Peeled Eggs 20 lbs container

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.

Case Counts

Total Illnesses: 7
Illnesses in 2019: 4
Hospitalizations: 4
Deaths: 1
Last illness isolation date: November 12, 2019
States with Cases: FL (1), ME (1), PA (1), SC (2), TX (2)
States with Cases in 2019: TX (1), SC (2), FL (1)
Product Distribution*: Nationwide
*Distribution has been confirmed for states list, but at this time we believe the product was distributed nationwide. Updates will be provided as more information becomes available.

What Products are Recalled?

Recalled products include bulk product sold in pails, as well as products sold at retail. 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.

Products Sold at Retail

Brand Product
7 Select 2 Count Hard-Cooked Eggs w/salt/pepper
Almark Foods Classic ProBox Mini
Almark Foods Smokehouse PRoBox Mini
Almark Foods Barbecue Probox Mini
Almark Foods Classic ProBox
Almark Foods Smokehouse ProBox
Almark Foods Barbecue ProBox
Almark Foods 12 Count Hard-Cooked Eggs
Almark Foods Hard-Cooked Eggs - 5# Bag
Almark Foods 1 Count Hard Cooked Eggs
Almark Foods 2 Count Hard Cooked Eggs
Almark Foods Cage Free Hard-Cooked Eggs - 5# Bag
Almark Foods Cage Free 1 Count Hard Cooked Eggs
Almark Foods Organic 12 Count Hard-Cooked Eggs
Almark Foods Red Beet 2 Count Hard-Cooked Eggs
Almark Foods Cage Free 2 Count Hard-Cooked Eggs w/salt/pepper
Almark Foods Cage Free 2 Count Hard-Cooked Eggs
Almark Foods Cage Free 6 Count Hard-Cooked Eggs
Almark Foods Cage Free 12 Count Hard-Cooked Eggs
Almark Foods 2 Count Hard-Cooked Eggs w/salt/pepper
Almark Foods 6 count Hard-Cooked eggs
Almark Foods Three 2 counts in Clamshell Hard Cooked Eggs
Almark Foods Organic 2 Count Hard-Cooked Eggs
Almark Foods 12 Count Cage Free Hard-Cooked Eggs
Best Choice Three 2 counts in Clamshell Hard Cooked Eggs
CMI 12 Count Hard-Cooked Eggs
CMI 12 Count Hard-Cooked Eggs
Dairy Fresh Great Value 6 Count Stand-Up Pouch Hard-Cooked Eggs
Dairy Fresh 2 Count Hard-Cooked Eggs
Deb-El Deb-El 12 Count Hard-Cooked Eggs
Egglands Best 6 Count Stand up Pouch Cage Free Hard Cooked Eggs
Egglands Best Egglands Best Hard-Cooked Eggs - 5# Bag
Egglands Best 1 count Egglands Best Hard Cooked Eggs
Egglands Best Egglands Best Cage Free Hard-Cooked Eggs - 5# Bag
Egglands Best 2 Count Egglands Best Eggs w/salt/pepper
Egglands Best 12 Count Stand up Pouch Hard Cooked Eggs
Egglands Best 10 Count Stand up Pouch Hard Cooked Eggs
Egglands Best 6 Count Stand up Pouch Hard Cooked Eggs
Egglands Best 2 Count Egglands Best Eggs
Egglands Best 6 Count Stand up Pouch Organic Hard Cooked Eggs
Everyday Essentials 6 Count Hard-Cooked eggs
Farmers Hen House 6 Count Stand up Pouch Hard Cooked Eggs
Food Club Food Club 6 Count Stand-Up Pouch Hard-Cooked Eggs
Fresh Thyme Fresh Thyme 6 Count Hard-Cooked Eggs
Fresh Thyme Fresh Thyme 2 Count Hard-Cooked Eggs
Giant Eagle Giant Eagle 6 Count Stand-Up Pouch Cage Free Hard-Cooked Eggs
Great Day 2 Count Hard Cooked Eggs
Great Day 6 Count Hard-Cooked eggs
Great Value Great Value 6 Count Stand-Up Pouch Hard-Cooked Eggs
Inpsired Organics 6 Count Stand up Pouch Organic Hard Cooked Eggs
Inpsired Organics 2 Count Organic Hard-Cooked Eggs
Kirkland Signature 2 count Organic Hard-cooked Eggs
Kroger Three Cage Free 2 counts in Clamshell Hard Cooked Eggs
LIDL LIDL 6 Count Stand-Up Pouch Hard-Cooked Eggs
Lucerne Lucerne 6 Count Stand-Up Pouch Cage Free Hard-Cooked Eggs
Members Mark Jack'd Protein Snack
Naturally Better 6 Count Stand-Up Pouch Cage Free Hard-Cooked Eggs
Nellie's 2 Count Nellie's Hard-Cooked Eggs
O Organics 2 Count Organic Hard-Cooked Eggs w/Salt/Pepper
O Organics 6 Count Stand up Pouch Organic Hard Cooked Eggs
Peckish Two 1 Counts boxed Hard Cooked Eggs--With Dip
Peckish 1 Count Hard-Cooked Eggs
Pete & Gerry's 6 Count Stand up Pouch Organic Hard Cooked Eggs
Pete & Gerry's 2 Count Organic Hard-Cooked Eggs
Rainbow Farms Rainbow Diced Egg - 5# Bag
Rainbow Farms 12 Count Hard-Cooked Eggs
Rainbow Farms Rainbow Farms Hard-Cooked Eggs - 5# Bag
Rembrandt Foods Rembrandt Diced Egg - 5# Bag
Rembrandt Foods 12 Count Cage Free Hard-Cooked Eggs
ShopRite ShopRite 6 Count Stand-Up Pouch Cage Free Hard-Cooked Eggs
Simple Truth Organics 6 Count Organic Hard-Cooked Eggs
Sunshine 2 Count Hard-Cooked Eggs w/salt/pepper
Vital Farms Vital Farms Pature Raised Hard-Cooked Eggs - 5# Bag
Vital Farms Three Boxed 2 Counts Pature Raised Hard-Cooked Eggs
Vital Farms 2 Count Pasture Raised Hard-Cooked Eggs w/salt/pepper
Wild Harvest 6 Count Organic Hard-Cooked Eggs

Bulk, Peeled Hard-boiled Eggs in Pails

Product Name Size Product ID Use By Date
Almark Foods Hard Cooked Broken Egg Whites 20 LBS 42020 12/19/2019, 1/23/2020, 1/24/2020
Almark Hard-cooked Eggs 20 LBS 30020 1/29/2020, 2/10/2020, 2/24/2019, 2/14/2020
Egggs Select Whole Hard Cooked Peeled Eggs 23 LBS 64023-05 1/27/2020
Nic's Peeled Pearls 23lb Salad Grade Hard-Boiled Eggs 23 LBS 17394 1/20/2020, 2/3/2020, 2/4/2020, 2/24/2020
Nic's Peeled Pearls, Nic's Salad Grade Hard-boiled Eggs 20 LBS 17395 12/24/2019, 12/25/2019, 12/31/2019, 1/6/2020, 1/7/2020, 1/8/2020, 1/13/2020, 1/14/2020, 1/28/2020, 1/28/2020, 1/29/2020, 2/4/2020, 2/5/2020
Rainbow Farms 20 LB Hard-Cooked Peeled Eggs 20 LBS 60020 1/13/2020, 1/20/2020, 1/21/2020, 1/22/2020, 1/27/2020, 1/28/2020, 1/29/2020, 2/3/2020, 2/10/2020, 2/11/2020, 2/14/2020, 2/17/2020, 2/18/2020, 2/24/2020
Rainbow Farms 23 LB Hard Cooked Peeled Eggs 23 LBS 60023 1/13/2020, 1/15/2019, 1/20/2020, 1/22/2019, 1/27/2020, 1/29/2020, 2/3/2020, 2/10/2020, 2/13/2020, 2/17/2020, 2/19/2020, 2/24/2020, 2/26/2020
Rainbow Farms 23 LB Hard Cooked Peeled Eggs in Vinegar 23 LBS 60023V 1/22/2020, 2/13/2020
Rainbow Farms 25 LB Hard Cooked, Peeled Eggs 25 LBS 60025 1/13/2020, 1/28/2020, 2/13/2020, 2/17/2020
Sutherland’s Food Service Inc., Premium Hard Cooked Peeled Select Whole Eggs 20 LBS 60020-3 1/15/2020

What is Listeria?

 Listeria monocytogenes (L. monocytogenes) is a species of pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria that can be found in moist environments, soil, water, decaying vegetation and animals, and can survive and even grow under refrigeration and other food preservation measures. When people eat food contaminated with L. monocytogenes, they may develop a disease called listeriosis.

Depending on the severity of the illness, symptoms may last from days to several weeks. Mild symptoms may include a fever, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. If the more severe form of listeriosis develops, symptoms may include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions. People infected with L. monocytogenes may start to see symptoms in a few hours or as long as two to three days after eating contaminated food. More severe forms of listeriosis may take anywhere from three days to three months to develop.

The severity of listeriosis varies and in some cases can be fatal, especially among the elderly, people with weakened immune systems or chronic diseases. Listeriosis can be particularly dangerous for pregnant women and their newborn babies, leading to serious complications with their pregnancy, including miscarriage and stillbirth.

General Food Safety Tips for Retailers

If retailers and/or other food service operators have handled recalled or other potentially contaminated food in their facilities, they should:

  • Wash the inside walls and shelves of the refrigerator, cutting boards and countertops, and utensils that may have contacted contaminated foods; then sanitize them with a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water; dry with a clean cloth or paper towel that has not been previously used.
  • Wash and sanitize display cases and surfaces used to potentially store, serve, or prepare potentially contaminated foods.
  • Wash hands with warm water and soap following the cleaning and sanitation process.
  • Conduct regular frequent cleaning and sanitizing of cutting boards and utensils used in processing to help minimize the likelihood of cross-contamination. 

General Food Safety Tips for Consumers

People should consult their healthcare provider if they suspect that they have developed symptoms that resemble listeriosis.

Consumers should follow these steps for preventing foodborne illness:

  • Wash the inside walls and shelves of the refrigerator, cutting boards and countertops, and utensils that may have contacted contaminated foods; then sanitize them with a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water; dry with a clean cloth or paper towel that has not been previously used.
  • Wash and sanitize surfaces used to serve or store potentially contaminated products.
  • Wash hands with warm water and soap following the cleaning and sanitation process.

Consumers can also submit a voluntarily report, a complaint, or adverse event (illness or serious allergic reaction) related to a food product.

Previous Updates

December 20, 2019

FDA, CDC, and state and local partners are currently investigating a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections linked to foods that contain hard-boiled eggs. On December 20, 2019, Almark Foods recalled and suspended production of hard-boiled and peeled eggs in pails due to the potential for contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. These hard-boiled and peeled eggs were sold in pails under the following names: Rainbow Select Hard-cooked Eggs, Rainbow Select Hard-cooked Eggs in Vinegar, Nic’s Salad Hard-boiled Eggs, Almark Hard-cooked Eggs, and Sutherland Select Hard-cooked Eggs.


Who to Contact

Consumers who have symptoms should contact their health care provider to report their symptoms and receive care.

To report a complaint or adverse event (illness or serious allergic reaction), you can

Visit www.fda.gov/fcic for additional consumer and industry assistance.

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