CDC Food Safety Alert- CDC Investigating Outbreak of Listeria Infections Linked to Hard-Boiled Eggs

Media Statement

For Immediate Release: Thursday, December 19, 2019
Contact: Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

A CDC food safety alert regarding a multistate outbreak of Listeria infections linked to hard-boiled eggs has been posted: https://www.cdc.gov/listeria/outbreaks/eggs-12-19/index.html

Key points:

  • CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and state public health officials are investigating an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections that has sickened seven people in five states (Florida, Maine, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas).
  • Four people have been hospitalized. One death has been reported from Texas. One illness was reported in a newborn who was infected with Listeria while the mother was pregnant; the newborn survived.
  • Interviews with ill people and laboratory evidence indicate that bulk, fresh hard-boiled eggs produced by Almark Foods of Gainesville, Ga., are a likely source of this outbreak. These eggs were packaged in plastic pails and sold under various brand names nationwide to food service operators, including grocery stores and restaurants.
  • Because Listeria can cause severe infections, CDC is warning against selling, serving, or using these hard-boiled eggs to make other foods, such as egg salad.
  • This investigation is ongoing to determine the source of contamination and if additional products are linked to illness.

Advice for people at higher risk for Listeria infection, such as pregnant women and their newborns, adults ages 65 or older, and people with weakened immune systems, such as people with cancer or on dialysis:

  • Until more information is available, CDC advises that people at higher risk for Listeria infection throw away any store-bought hard-boiled eggs or products containing hard-boiled eggs, such as egg salad.
  • If you have these products at home, don’t eat them. Throw them away, regardless of where you bought them or the use-by date.
  • Wash and sanitize drawers or shelves in refrigerators and freezers where the products were stored. Follow these five steps to clean your refrigerator.
  • This advice does not include eggs hard-boiled at home or products using those homemade eggs, such as egg salad or deviled eggs.
  • If you buy products with hard-boiled eggs, or order or eat items with hard-boiled eggs at a restaurant, confirm with the store or restaurant that they do not use hard-boiled eggs produced by Almark Foods. If they don’t know where their hard-boiled eggs are from, don’t buy or order the product.

Advice for retailers and food service operators:

  • Retailers and food service operators should not use bulk hard-boiled eggs produced at the Almark Foods Gainesville, Georgia facility, regardless of use-by date. These eggs were peeled, hard-boiled, and packaged in plastic pails of various sizes.
  • Wash and sanitize any surfaces that may have come in contact with the eggs or the pail packaging. Listeria can easily spread to other foods and surfaces.

About Listeria:

  • Listeria can cause different symptoms, depending on the person and the part of the body affected.
  • Pregnant women typically experience only fever and other flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue and muscle aches. However, infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn.
  • People other than pregnant women can have symptoms that include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions in addition to fever and muscle aches.
  • People with invasive Listeria infection usually report symptoms starting 1 to 4 weeks after eating contaminated food. Infection is treated with antibiotics.

If you have questions about cases in a particular state, please call that state’s health department.

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Page last reviewed: December 19, 2019