Outbreak-related hard boiled egg recall now includes consumer products

by Dennis Kim

Almark Foods is expanding its recall of hard boiled eggs to include products sold directly to consumers, but the company continues to downplay whether its contaminated plant is behind a Listeria outbreak.

Some of the eggs do not expire until late March, so public health officials are concerned they may be in consumers’ homes. Major retailers including Kroger, Walmart, Costco and Trader Joe’s are among those with implicated products.

The multistate, two-year long outbreak has killed at least one person, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Seven people from 2017 through 2019 — one as recently as November — have been confirmed infected with Listeria monocytogenes that matches the strain found in an Almark plant.

Almark’s initial recall on Dec. 20 involved only hard boiled, peeled eggs in pails that were sold to foodservice operations such as restaurants and grocery store delis. The expanded recall includes a wide variety of products, some of which are sold in grocery stores in protein kits and in egg pouches, according to the company’s recall notice posted by the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA confirmed the presence of the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes in the Almark egg production plant in Gainsville, GA, in early 2019 and again recently.

“On Dec. 18, 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration notified Almark Foods that the company’s ‘Hard-Boiled and Peeled’ eggs in pails manufactured at the Gainesville facility may be associated with a Listeria monocytogenes outbreak that has been linked to several reported illnesses and one reported death. A more recent FDA sample from the facility also matched the outbreak strain, suggesting the possibility that the strain may have remained present in the facility,” Almark reported.

“Almark Foodsis expanding its voluntary recall first announced on Dec. 20, 2019, to include all hard-boiled eggs manufactured at the firm’s Gainesville, GA, facility, including all retail, pillow pack, pouch pack, frozen diced, and protein kit products, due to potential contamination with Listeria monocytogenes.”

The recall now includes all products from the Georgia plant that are packaged for the retail market. This includes product with “Best If Used By” dates up through March 2, 2020. If the “Best If Used By” code starts with the prefix “G”, the product was manufactured at the Georgia facility and is subject to the recall.

The FDA has reported that Almark temporarily closed the production plant in Georgia.

About Listeria infections
Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled but can still cause serious and sometimes life-threatening infections. Anyone who has eaten any recalledproducts and developed symptoms of Listeria infection should seek medical treatment and tell their doctors about the possible Listeria exposure.

Also, anyone who has eaten any of the recalled products should monitor themselves for symptoms during the coming weeks because it can take up to 70 days after exposure to Listeria for symptoms of listeriosis to develop.

Symptoms of Listeria infection can include vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headache, and neck stiffness. Specific laboratory tests are required to diagnose Listeria infections, which can mimic other illnesses.

Pregnant women, the elderly, young children, and people such as cancer patients who have weakened immune systems are particularly at risk of serious illnesses, life-threatening infections, and other complications. Although infected pregnant women may experience only mild, flu-like symptoms, their infections can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn, or even stillbirth.

Sourced From: Coral Beach - Food Safety News

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