Listeria outbreak linked to hard-boiled eggs made in Gainesville

Boiling an egg shouldn't be so hard. (Calvin B. Alagot/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Boiling an egg shouldn't be so hard. (Calvin B. Alagot/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Credit: Calvin B. Alagot

Credit: Calvin B. Alagot

Health officials are recommending those at risk for listeria infection throw out any store-bought products with hard-boiled eggs after a recent outbreak was traced to a Gainesville food manufacturer.

Eggs produced at Almark Foods, which markets itself as "the hard-boiled egg specialists," have made people sick, according to the Atlanta-based Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. Seven cases of listeria infection have been reported across five states, and one person died in Texas.

No cases have been reported in Georgia.

»RELATED: What is listeria? Symptoms, treatment

The products manufactured in Gainesville were packaged in plastic pails for use nationwide by retailers and restaurants, according to the CDC. While the eggs have not been recalled, the agency is warning against selling, serving or using them to make other food products.

Retailers should know where their hard-boiled eggs were produced, but consumers will not be able to tell if products contain contaminated eggs.

“Until we learn more, 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,” officials said in a food safety alert.

Those at higher risk for infection include pregnant women and their newborns, adults ages 65 or older, and people with weakened immune systems, such as those with cancer or on dialysis. People on dialysis are 50 times more likely to get a listeria infection, according to the CDC. People with cancer and pregnant women are 10 times more likely, and older adults are four times more likely.

The agency is advising both retailers and consumers to sanitize any surfaces that may have come in contact with the hard-boiled eggs and their packaging.

If eating out, the CDC recommends diners confirm if the restaurant makes their hard-boiled eggs in house. It’s also a good idea to verify that the eggs did not come from Almark Foods, officials said.

Eggs prepared at home should be OK for consumption.

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