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Listeria outbreak linked to hard-boiled eggs

Albany Herald - 12/28/2019

Dec. 28--GAINESVILLE -- On Dec. 23, Almark Foods expanded its voluntary recall to include all hard-boiled eggs manufactured at its Gainesville 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. At this time, Almark Foods is no longer producing products from this facility.

Companies that received recalled product from Almark Foods have initiated recalls of products containing these eggs. Additional companies and products may be added as the investigation continues.

--Bakkavor Foods (Trader Joe's Egg Salad and Potato Salad)

--Diebergs Kitchen (Diebergs Market products)

--Reichel Foods (Pro2Snax To The Max)

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

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.

Additionally, FDA recommends that food processors, restaurants and retailers that 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.

As of Dec. 17, 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 Nov. 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 Dec. 20. On Dec. 23, Almark Foods expanded the initial recall to include all hard-boiled eggs produced at its Gainesville 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.

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