September 21, 2020

Almark Eggs Listeria Outbreak Ends With 8 Sick, 5 Hospitalized, 1 Death

The Almark Eggs Listeria outbreak has ended with 8 sick in 5 states, 5 hospitalized, and 1 death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest announcement. A recall was issued for Almark Foods hard boiled eggs that had “Best If Used By” dates through March 2, 2020. These eggs are past their shelf life and shouldn’t be available for sale, but some consumers may still have them in their homes and restaurants could have them in storage coolers. They should be discarded.

Almark Eggs Listeria Outbreak Ends With 8 Sick, 5 Hospitalized, 1 Death

The case count by state is: Florida (1), Maine (2), Pennsylvania (1), South Carolina (2), and Texas (2). Listeria specimens from patients were collected from April 10, 2017 to December 7, 2019. These dates are so far apart because the investigators used PulseNet to look for people sickened with bacteria that has the same genetic markers. This often happens in Listeria outbreaks, especially since the pathogen can become established in a facility at a low level for years and cause illnesses months or years apart.

The patient age range is from less than 1 year to 82 years. Of seven people who gave information to investigators, five were hospitalized. One death was reported from Texas. And one illness was reported in a newborn who was infected with Listeria while the mother was pregnant. The newborn did survive.

Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicates that hard boiled eggs produced at the Almark Foods Gainesville, Georgia processing facility were the likely source of this outbreak. In interviews, of the six people who gave information, five, or 83%, said they ate egg products before getting sick. And all of those people said they ate hard boiled eggs sold in packages, in prepared salads sold in stores, and in salads at restaurants.

Further, the FDA found Listeria bacteria in an environmental sample taken from the Almark Foods Gainesville, Georgia processing facility during an inspection in December 2019. Whole genome sequencing, the gold standard of DNA matching, showed that the bacteria in that environmental sample was closely related genetically to bacteria from patient samples.

Lawyer Fred Pritzker

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with food poisoning, you can contact attorney Fred Pritzker for help by calling 1-888-377-8900 or 612-338-0202.

Noted food safety attorney Fred Pritzker said, “These facilities that process ready-to-eat foods have to be very careful about Listeria monocytogenes contamination. Once the pathogen has established itself, it can be very difficult to eradicate. And people can get sick, as in this tragic outbreak.”

Symptoms of listeriosis, the illness caused by this pathogen, include a high fever, stiff neck, severe headache, muscle aches, nausea, and diarrhea. Pregnant women may be only mildly ill with what they believe to be the flu, but listeriosis can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature labor, and infection in the newborn. If you are experiencing these symptoms, see your doctor.

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